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Full text of "With the irregulars in the Transvaal and Zululand"

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WITH THE IRREGULARS 



IN THE 



TRANSVAAL AND ZULULAND. 



BY 

W. H. TOMASSON, 

LATE ADJUTANT OF IRREGULAR CAVALRY. 



Dedicated to Colonel Redvers Buller, F.C., C.A, C.M.G.^ A,DX,, 

and the Officers and Men of the Irregular Horse of 

the Flying Column, 




LONDON: 
REMINGTON AND CO., 

NEW BOND STREET. 
I 8 8 I. 



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PREFACE. 



Seeing how much even Eegular Eegiments prize the 
record of the services of their Eegiments, sorely an 
Irregular Eegiment should value such annals even 
more. In the one case, every gallant deed is handed 
down from generation to generation of officers and 
men ; in the other, the Eegiment is disbanded, and 
its members scattered to the four winds of heaven. 
On these grounds I trust that this Volume, which 
contains a few sketches of the deeds of the Irregular 
Cavalry of the Fljdng Column, may prove acceptable 
to some of its whilom members. They will, I hope, 
look indulgently over the mistakes in facts and style, 
of which, I am painf uUy conscious, there are many ; 
I hope critics will do likewise, and remember that 
the hand that wrote would rather handle sword than 
pen. 

Most Irregulars will not fail to discover Captain 
Watt Whalley's hand in not a few of these pages* 
To the public I confess the great assistance I have 
received from that officer ; here is a receipt for them 
to discover his hand from the Author's : all the sense 



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IV 



is his, the nonsense mine. What little entertainment 
the reader derives from these pages they will owe 
him, as the Author does the smatter of practical 
soldiering he possesses. 

As my Colonel and Commandant used to say, 
finishing up a wigging to his ofiBcers, "as for the 
Adjutant — ^the less said of him the better ". Critics, 
say worse of his writing, I defy you to. 

W. H. TOMASSOK 



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WITH THE IRREGULARS 
IN THE TRANSVAAL AND ZULULANa 

CHAPTEE L 

TN the present state of South African aflFaira 
"T the following chapters, the notes of a 
march across North Basutoland and the Trans- 
vaal may be of interest. They are from the 
Journal of an officer of one of the best-known 
Irregular Regiments. 

On the 7th of July, 1878, the regiment left 
its head-quarters near Eling William's Town 
and marched north. The Kei river was crossed 
on the 9th, and Fingoland entered. The 
Fingoes are the most loyal race of South 
Africa ; we have redeemed these people from a 
life of abject slavery, and in return they are 
grateful. Gratitude is scarce in South Africa ; 



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the fact is therefore worth mentioning. Pre- 
viously to our taking them in hand, they were 
veritable hewers of wood and drawers of water 
to their fiercer neighbours. They fought fairly 
under various leaders — Lonsdale, Pattel, and 
others during the Ghaika and Galeka wars of 
1S77. They submitted to be disarmed in 
1880, but have had their arms restored, and 
are now fighting with us against the Tamboo- 
kies, Basutos, and Tembus. After Fingoland 
came the Tambookie Reserve. The Tamboo- 
kies, a fairly warlike race, are now in arms 
against the Cape Government. The Bashee 
river was next reached; this stream formed 
the limit to the waxlike operations of 1877-78 
against Kreli. Here we enter Bomvanaland, 
inhabited by a race remarkable for pusilla- 
nimity. Most Kaffirs will make a fight for 
their cattle, leaving his other belongings, such 
as wife, children, and huts to their own de- 
vices. However, we were told that these 
Bomvanas cannot be provoked to hostilities 
even by this grievous injury. 

I regret I have never heard the course the 
Colonial Government adopted with respect to 



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the country lying between the Butterworth 
and Bashe riveys; neither have I learnt the 
fate of Kreli the chief of the country. He 
and his people fought right well for their 
independence, and fought honourably. He 
was supposed to be averse to war, but was 
overruled by his young men. Finding he 
could not avert bloodshed, he warned all Euro- 
pean residents to quit his territory. In some 
instances he even supplied an escort for pro- 
tection of life and property. In his case we 
hear nothing of those hideous atrocities that 
were committed by the Christian, and other 
adherents of Sandili, the Gaika chief in British 
Kaflfraria. Sandili, however, had the good for- 
tune to fall in fight. Kreli is probably a wan- 
derer from his beautiful country. And it is a 
glorious territory, with rich and fertile soil, 
noble forests, and abundance of water. It 
would be an admirable home for settlers. The 
only drawback discoverable during the weeks I 
patrolled the territory were the ticks. These 
attacked both man and beast in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the sea coast. The Colonial 
Governments have, however, always set their 



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faces against emigration, no importation of 
small settlers having taken place since 1858. 
Then General von Stittenheim established his 
German legionaries in KaflEraria. These men 
were the relics of the German Legion raised 
for service in the Crimea. They started with 
absolutely nothing beyond a small grant of 
land, and a daily ration of food. Now the 
survivors and second generation are in very 
comfortable circumstances. 

July 19. Rose at 3 a.m., packed waggons 
by moonlight. A severe frost, as indeed there 
was wherever we went, till arrival at Lydenberg, 
and afterwards in Zululand. Reach the settle- 
ment and river of Umtata at noon. Here is a 
bishop of the Church of England, a cathedral 
of corrugated iron, and some 30 or 40 houses 
scattered here and there, as though shaken out 
of a pepper box. On the west bank of the 
river a British magistrate seems to have some 
authority, he has been since murdered we be- 
lieve. The owners of property on the other 
side have to deal with a Pondo chief Umkalese 
who levies taxes as he thinks proper. By send- 



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ing a cow's tail to tlie settler he compels his 
(the trader's) attendance at his big kraal. One 
house, supposed to have been a hotel, is oh 
the Pondo side, but does, or did no traffic in 
liquors on account of the heavy license de- 
manded by this astute barbarian. What an 
example for the Middlesex magistrates. We 
left this spot after a day's halt, and saw thence- 
forward but few houses till arrival at Griqua- 
land. The telegraph was opened between 
Natal and the Cape a few months previously. 
There is a European operative resident at the 
diJBTerent stations few and far between. 

July 22. Reach the Tina river, a noble 
affluent of the St. John's River. A day's halt^ 
and much bathing and washing. All along 
this river, war is now, 1881, raging fiercely. 
The troops are under the command of Lieut. - 
CoL Baker, whose name figures frequently 
hereafter in this book 

July 22. tJamp on banks of the Umzim- 
vubu or St. John's river proper. The scenery 
here is very grand, and the hill leading from 
the drift towards the eastward a feature to be 
remembered. 



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July 27. After crossing other large streams 
the 90th Light Infantry under Col. Wood was 
overtaken by us at a place 5 or 6 miles from 
Kokstad, on the borderland of Griqualand West. 

July 28. The column thus united, marched, 
or rather scrambled into Kokstad. The hill up 
which the waggon had to be dragged was a real 
caution, and made us begin to understand the 
difficulty Colonel Wood had in getting trans- 
port riders to accompany his columns. His 
train was composed chiefly of ox-waggons, 
with owners or conductors of the nondescript 
Dutch-English breed, peculiar to the business 
of carrying in South Africa. It appears that 
these men were compelled to bring on their 
waggons so far from their houses in the Cape 
Colony, and to traverse this wild and almost 
unknown country. Their outcry against the 
Colonel as the waggons stuck was rich in 
oaths, both English and Dutch. However, by 
dint of unloading and reloading, and drag 
ropes hauled on by the troops, the thing was 
compassed somehow, and we found ourselves 
in Kokstad by 4 p.m. We had calculated on 
a good night's rest after this manual labour^ 



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but had to turn out the Regiment during the 
night to put out a grass fire some three or 
four miles oflF. 

Kokstad is so called after Adam Kok, who 
bought his Griquas here from Griquland West 
(now the Diamond Fields). Here we remained 
three weeks, which were not unprofitably spent 
in drilling our men, many of whom had joined 
but a few days before leaving Kingwilliam's 
Town. Kokstad has streets, and a magistrate, 
one or two churches and hotels. It is miser- 
ably cold in the winter at least. There was a 
sort of rebellion here which was easily sup- 
pressed, the only loss of life arising from the 
explosion of a powder magazine, by which I 
think several Europeans, amongst them some 
ladies, were killed or seriously injured. The 
place was garrisoned as we marched in by a 
company of the 3rd Buffs, and a detachment 
of Cape Mounted Rifles. The natives here are 
clothed in the European fashion. Adam Kok 
appears to have been a chief of great intelli- 
gence and capacity. A good ruler, and a 
friend to the English, his death was a loss to 
all parties. 



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Dormg otiT stay d.t Kokstad, Captahi Barton 
of the Ccddstream Guards, attached td the 
regiment, went with some of the authorities 
to seek an interview with the Pohdo chief. 
This Journey had no result. The natives 
Mlowed the small party to come within sight; 
but decMned to hold any intercourse, although 
they were in great numbers. These Pohdos 
were evidently anxious not to give any cause 
of complaint, and wisely avoided arty discus- 
sion with the Cape authorities. Although 
they were guiltless of any act that could 
possibly be construed iQto a breach of the 
peace, they were prepared to pay over a large 
iiumber of cattle to the authorities to be left 
in peace. 

An English lady, by name Mrs. Jenkins, 
since dead, lived in their midst, doing good 
According to her lights. She appeared to 
exercise great influence over the chief Umiqui- 
kela and his councillors. She had one Euro- 
pean companion of her own sex, who elected 
to share this isolated life with the old lady. 

What the Ciape Grovemment wished to ex- 
tract from these Pondos we could not hear. It 



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9 

ippeats, however, Mr. Sprigg, the Cape Pre- 
mier, took advantage of this overland move- 
ment of troops to Natal— even if the marcli 
were hot tmdertaken at his solicitation — to, 
pick a quarrel with these Pondos. These 
people were 200 nules from the Cape frontier, 
and were in no way concerned or interested in 
Colonial matters. They only wished to be 
allowed to manage their own affairs in their 
<iwn way, which is mild and inoffensive enough. 
We have since wondered how Sir Bartle Frere 
and Lord Chelmsford allowed themselves to be 
made, in some ineasure, the tool of the astute 
Cape lawyer. However, at the present mo- 
ment, Jan., 1881, Mr. Sprigg seems to have 
succeeded in his policy of aggression, and to 
have raised a tolerably compact resistance to 
his scheme of Colonial supremacy. These 
schemes were successful enough in 1878 when 
the Colonial levies having failed to do any- 
thing, the Imperial troops came forward, and 
put ail end to the conflict. It remains to be 
feeeh what the Colonists unassisted will accom- 
plish. Thejr, however, are largely supported 
by a staff of British regular officers. It is 



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10 

devoutedly to be hoped that they will be left 
to get out of their self-made difficulties as they 
best can, and that they will be disabused of 
, the idea that the British taxpayer is to find 
the sinews of war, and the British army to 
bleed, while they reap the advantages of the 
expenditure. 

On this occasion, Aug., 1878, Mr. Sprigg 
was unsuccessful in his attempts on the 
Pondos, and after three weeks' delay — ^which 
we afterwards found to be an irreparable loss — 
we were suffered to proceed on our road. We 
quitted Kokstad on August 19. Since then 
the Pondos were left in peace, unharrassed, 
while English troops were engaged fiercely in 
Zululand. After the close of the Zulu war a 
desperate attempt was made to stir them up. 
They could not, however, be induced to fight. 
Now, when the Cape Government's feeble 
hands are more than ftdl with Basuto, Tam- 
bookies, Tembu, Pondomise and other wars,, 
the Pondos are restive, and they are cowardly 
enough to pander to them, and by truckling 
hope to keep them quiet. It is to be hoped 
that the Colonial Office at home will take 



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11 

up their cause and look after them. They are 
much sinned against, and very little have 
sinned. Poor fellows, let once the other wars 
be over and their turn comes next, and they 
know it. Therefore let us hope our own tem- 
perate Colonial Office will step in, and firmly 
and judiciously treat these good people. On 
the evening of the day we left Kokstad we 
crossed into Alfred County, Natal. The road 
cut through a northemly projection of that co- 
lony for a couple of miles. We had, at a house 
rejoicing under the name of Beast Kraal, a 
conversation with a huge Yorkshireman and hia 
handsome wife. They had been attacked by 
the rebel Griquas who quitted the house with- 
out fortunately taking life. By way of com-^ 
mitting extra damage they had thrown all the 
molasses they could find about the floor, and 
plucking the fowls they had killed, stuck the 
feathers into the treacle. 

August 20. Eeach civilisation, or rather 
partial civilisation, and cross the Umzimkulu 
into Natal. At the ferry is a telegraph-office, 
shops, and actually a billiard table. After 
this day we began to see houses, enclbsures. 



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12 

and plantations of gum and fruit trees. There 
is also a good road, that portion descending 
the beautiftd valley of the Umkomazi being 
really a work of science and labour judiciously 
combined. 

AiLgiLst 24. Reach Pietermaritzburg, being 
played in by the Infantry band. Tents are 
pitched just below Fort Napier. Thus ended 
a march which proves with what rapidity a 
well calculated movement can be effected, in 
ian almost unknown country, nearly entirely 
destitute of roads and supplies. Leaving 
King William's Town on 7th July, Kokstad 
was reached on 28th. Total 22 days, of which 
5 were halts. From Kokstad to Pietermaritz- 
burg were 5 days. Total 22 days of marcK 
to go over 410 miles, or thereabouts, of as 
difficult a country, as in several years of veiy 
varied service we had the good fortxme to see. 
Our transport consisted of 8 ox waggons, 
carrying about 2200 Jlbs. each. Major, now 
Colonel Redvers BuUer in command, proved to 
the satisfaction of all ranks, that he was as 
well qualified to organise, as to carry out. 
From that time he was looked up to by all 



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13 

under his command, as a man who foresaw 
everything, and never erred in his calculations. 
At Pietermaritzburg, a few recruits were 
picked up, and a few good-for-nothings dis- 
charged. And on 29th August, 1878, the 
regiment set forth for the Transvaal Lady- 
Smith, 100 miles, was reached in four days. A 
day's halt, and three days more brought us to 
Newcastle, 180 miles from Pietermaritzburg. 
All this road was very fair being the main 
highway of the Colony. It had excellent 
bridges and but few very severe hills, such 
as present themselves on the more deserted 
eastern road by Greytown. The condition of 
the roads at this time was very different to 
what they were a year later, when the traffic 
of the store waggons bound for Zululand had 
completely destroyed them. At Greytown 
another day's halt took place, and we took 
stock of the last English town we were likely 
to see for some time. Here we met, at a 
billiard table with some brother officers, the 
first Transvaal Boers we had seen. These 
people are not backward in opening conversa- 
tion, and accordingly began to question us. 



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14 

They asked our purpose in marching, as to 
our domestic affairs, and fears, and hopes 
generally. 

They were pleased to express approval of 
our going to fight Secocoeni. This was the 
Basuto Chief who had given their ex-President 
Burgers so much thread to twist. They then, 
having satisfied their ample capacity for news, 
suffered us to dine in peace. We enjoyed the 
hospitality of the innkeeper, Mr. Hitchcock, 
afterwards killed at Isandhlwana. 

It may here be not out of place to insert 
the colonial opinion of Dutchmen. A Boer is 
is described as simple in some things, very 
few however, as a child, as acute in the 
majority as a Bristol Quaker, he is supposed 
to be endowed with the appetite of an ostrich, 
and the freedom from nicety of a vulture. 
To the weak, he is insolent, brutal and over- 
bearing, to the strong he is either cringing, or 
takes refuge in stupidity, and a stolid sullen- 
ness. Morals he has none, and the crime of 
incest is rife, especially in the northern Trans- 
vaal. The women are without the natural 
delicacy of their sex, the men have no chivalry. 



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CHAPTER 11. 

AN the 8th September, while halting for 
^ breakfast at a farm-house owned by an 
Englishman, who supplied bundles of forage 
(oat hay) we found that we were in the Trans- 
vaal. The boundary line was marked by an 
inconsiderable brook. The next afternoon we 
reached the little hamlet of Amersfort. There 
is here a large shop, and a Dutch Church, 
served by the minister of Standerton. That 
day we began to understand the meaning of 
Hooge Veldt. It is a country perfectly flat, at 
a considerable elevation (5000 feet) above the 
sea level, destitute of anything approaching 
timber, or, indeed, of any sort of fuel save that 
left by grazing cattle. This mest (in Dutch) — 
groslock, we think, is the Scotch — gives, when 
diy, great heat, and burns rapidly. At Amers- 
foi t certain Boers of the real unadorned type 



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16 

called on us to try and sell horses. In this, 
dealing they could open their mouths well. 
There was some disappointment on their part^ 
and angry remarks that, not content with tak- 
ing their country, our men were actually pick- 
ing up their cattle droppings. We think they 
finished by selling a horse or two, when the 
difficulty as to the method of payment arose. 

No bank notes or cheques on the Standard 
Bank at Newcastle were to be accepted, but 
the hard money must be paid down then and 
there. We forgot how the affair was finally 
arranged, but fancy an English storekeeper 
came to the rescue. There is no denying the 
fpxjt that these Boers have the greatest sus- 
picion of Englishmen. That they have been 
plundered in their dealings with Jew, and pro- 
bably not a few Scotch and English traders, to 
say nothing of German storekeepers there is no 
doubt. Many and curious are the anecdotes 
we have heard of the dodges resorted to by un- 
scrupulous traders to victimize the ignorant 
Dutchman. One of these, which may be new 
to English readers, may be worth relating. A 
certain Boer who had suspicions of a store- 



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17 

keeper's integrity with infinite labour made up 
by the help of a " Eeady Reckoner " the value 
of so many waggon loads of wool which he was 
about to dispose of. The storekeeper's price 
fell much below that expected by the Boer. 
The latter triumphantly produced his book of 
figures to prove his correctness. The honest 
buyer was taken aback, but quickly recovered 
himself. Taking the " Eeady Reckoner ' from 
the Boer's hand, he looked at the title-page, 
and pointed out that the book was several years 
old, and that the multiplication there recorded 
was therefore valueless for the date at which 
the transaction took place. The Boer returned 
home serenely content. Probably finding the 
Reckoner dated before the Annexation, and the 
smaller price after, he is now riding with Jou- 
bert, and slaughtering prisoners, or some other 
equally inoffensive little game. Never mind, 
it's all the same, and some benevolent, but not 
very practical M.P.'s, will shield him, because, 
forsooth, a paper expressive of sympathy is 
being signed in Germany. We are rather far 
gone when we allow our neighbours to interfere 
in our treatment of our rebellious vassals. 



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18 

The real object of a Boer s special aversion 
is the Hollander, that is, a native of Holland 
A few of these gentry are to be found in South 
Africa, and their superior education has enabled 
them to do a good stroke of business on the 
unsophisticated South African kinsmen. They 
are willin g to turn their hands- to any light 
employment where pickings are to be had, and 
generally occupy positions as schoolmasters 
or attorney or solicitor-generals. The Boer 
will admit that all Englishmen are not aU 
rogues ; but nothing on this earth will per- 
suade him that a Hollander is not a person 
who has made his native country too hot for 
him. It may here be recorded that the Boers* 
notions of honesty are, by no means, strict 
Storekeepers have told us that their assistants 
always keep a watchful eye on their Dutch cus- 
tomers, who are apt to take away articles not 
paid for. We remember a Jew shopkeeper in 
the Cape Colony detecting the theft of a pair 
of trousers. The Boer had got into a back 
room to tr}^ them on. He did so, and then 
pulled his own over them and marched out, 
saying, as he went by, that they did not fit. 
In these cases the dealer does not openly tax 



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19 

the customers with theft, but rather makes out 
a bill in which the missing articles are charged 
Often the Boers used to come into stores when 
our men were there, thinking, no doubt, that 
the blame of any missing articles would be 
charged to our Irregulars. 

However, we will leave the Dutchmen for & 
while, they are quite able to take care of them- 
selves, and continue our march across the High 
Veldt. This becomes extremely monotonous 
after a day or two. The same vast expanse of 
open arid plain imrelieved by landmark of any 
sort. Water scarce, and existing principally in 
small stagnant swamps. Occasionally a house 
might be seen in the far distance, with a willow 
or two planted in front, or we might pass a so 
called farm once in 24 hours. As a general rule, 
the whole location consists of an erection con- 
taining one, or at most two, rooms, A kraal of 
loose stones, some 3 or 4 feet high, for cattle 
completes the homestead. Wherein dwells some 
12 or 15 Dutch, of ages varjdng from 3 months 
to many years. This we have heard described 
as a patriarchal mode of existence, it is certainly 
one very repugnant to English notions. Let 



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20 

TO give the narrative of a night's lodging at a 
Boer's house. Duty led us with an Irregular 
orderly past the house. It was night, and a 
great storm was gathering. We asked hospi- 
tality (and paid for it). Our horses were 
stripped and let out, and we came in in time 
for the evening meaL It consisted of goats' 
flesh, placed on the .table in the pot it was 
boiled in. Every one dived and fished up with 
their own forks. There was a community in 
the matter of drinking apparatus, there being 
only two, both tin billys. Forks were scarce^ 
and one used their own knives, grabbing in the 
pot for anything you wanted. At an early 
hour two girls brought in a mysterious tin 
vessel with a small amount of water in it and 
a towel, and a very small one, too. This water 
was to wash every one's feet ; the two 
daughters of the house did this, one washing, 
the other drying. As the family consisted of 
thirteen people, with two strangers, the state 
of water and towel when the operation was over 
may be left to the reader's imagination. He 
needs have a vivid one. Afterwards, with 
everything on save boots, we retired to roost. 



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21 

Will it be believed that the whole family — 
father, mother, grandmother, five sons, and 
four daughters, all grown up, together with any 
strangers that might happen to drop in — 
occupied the same chamber ? and that a small 
one. There was but small delicacy observed. 
By the aid of a tallow candle, coats were taken 
oflF and rolled for pillows, and blankets came 
into use. The damsels were, by no means, 
careful to hide any of the charms that nature 
had provided them with. Every one slept 
where he happened to select. Save the fact 
that a recent fever was still hanging round us, 
and that the storm was raging fiercely, we 
should much have preferred the sky for a roo£ 
As it was protected by our saddle, we fell 
asleep at last among the most diabolical concert 
fi-om the snoring famUy it has ever been our 
misfortune to hear. This is the patriarchal 
mode of existence. We will answer that, if 
some of our humanitarian members slept one 
night such as this, he would forswear the cause 
of the Transvaal Boers. This man at whose 
house we slept owned 8000 acres of land. 
Occasionally we would purchase a fowl or two 
at these undesirable dwellings, but nether their 



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22 

occupants nor ourselves cared for much conver- 
sation. However, any sort of habitation broke 
the sameness of this coxmtry, which was also oc- 
casionally relieved by the view of large herds of 
vildebeeste and the various classes of boks. 
. They would often approach in large numbers 
close to our line of march, which was pursued at 
a steady walk of 4 or 4^ miles an hour. Time 
being important, and ammunition valuable, the 
troop officers forbade any pursuit or firing, 
although, on our way south to the Zulu fron- 
tier two months later, a fair amoxmt of sport 
was obtained. 

Sept. 10. Reached the Vaal river and en- 
camped. This was a red letter day for two 
reasons. First, on account of the stream, 
which, although very different from its ap- 
pearance at Pniel and Klipdrift (Diamond 
Fields), is still a stream. That is, we could 
determine which way the current moved, a 
somewhat unusual circumstance in this flat 
country. We could bathe and wash, two 
luxuries beyond price. Then, in the next 
place, we had the pleasure of meeting a Dutch 
farmer belonging to the educated and en- 



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lightened section of the community. With 
Mr. Retief, his wife and handsome daughter, 
we spent half-an-hour very pleasantly. This 
gentleman is famous for being the son of the 
Dutch leader, who with his commando was 
treacherously murdered by Dingaan the Zulu 
king. A massacre the Boers avenged to some 
purpose at a later date. In their earlier con- 
flicts with the Zulus, the Boers seemed to have 
displayed a bravery amounting at times to 
recklessness. Men, women, and children alike 
took part in the struggle, which ended in the 
division of the Zulu nation, and a disastrous 
defeat of the anti-Boer party. That this spirit 
exists in some of the present generation of 
Boers, cannot be denied, although the later 
history of the South African Republic show a 
lamentable falling oflF in patriotism and self- 
sacrifice. Those who were acquainted with 
Mr. Piet Uys and his sons, killed on the 
Zlobane, March 28, 1879, will bear testimony 
to their courage and devotion. Sir Evelyn 
Wood, we believe, looked upon Mr. Piet Uys as 
a most valuable friend and ally, and had good 
reason to lament his untimely death. We 



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forget how many sons this brave man left 
behind ; but let us hope the Imperial Govern- 
ment did not forget its obligations, and that 
they are now ranked on our side in the present 
struggle. The landroost of Utrecht, Mr. 
Rudolph and his brother Andries were also 
prominent at the Zulu War. Of the latter it 
was said, he could see a native at a mile dis- 
tance, and shoot him at two. Allowing for 
hyperbole, we can of our own knowledge 
speak of their wonderful powers of vision and 
of their accuracy as marksmen. In the first 
qualification they hold their own with the^ 
natives. Cornelius Uys could distinguish 
objects with the naked eye, as well as we 
could with a field glass. He could with his 
Lancaster rifle bring down birds on the wing 
in a truly sportsmanlike manner. Of Andries 
Rudolph, Piet Uys used to say, "Rudolph 
no very quick, but he shoot straight". All 
these men, and all the best and bravest of the 
Transvaal will be on our side in the struggle. 
Let us hope their uncultured brethren will not 
murder them for their attachment to English 
rule. The Boers are merely fighting, because 



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they hate us, who buy their land, develop 
their country, and do not let them whip their 
own niggers at wilL To return to Mr. Eetief, 
we regret we were unable to have a longer 
interview with him. He had a well built and 
<X)mfortably furnished house, with orchard, 
and out-buildings, and enclosures, that did 
one's heart good to look at, after three or four 
days' journey over the High Veldt. At part- 
ing he requested us to send him a schoolmaster, 
should we meet with that article in our travels. 
We think all classes of Dutchmen recognise 
the value of education for their children, 
although but few incur the expense of a 
teacher. In the Transvaal indeed, a very 
small percentage of the farmers have accommo- 
dation for a schoolmaster, were they even 
willing to spare the small charge made by this 
person, who is generally a wanderer with whom 
other callings have proved failures. 

Sept. 14* Four days more of the High 
Veldt, and we reach Nazareth, or as the 
English call it Middleburg. The former name 
were better retained to avoid complication 
with the Middleburg of the Cape Colony, 



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which is the chief place of a division almost 
wholly inhabited by the Dutch. Of Nazareth 
we saw but little, as the next day but one we 
marched. The intervening Sunday was fully 
occupied in fitting out the troops with such 
supplies as could be procured in the village. 
It boasted of a small street or two, planted 
with willows, a post office, and some grog 
shops, called canteens or hotels, where every- 
thing that was poisonous in the way of liquor 
was retailed at famine prices. The following 
day saw us encamped on the Steelport river, 
of which we were destined to see a good deal 
before relinquishing our attack on Secocoeni. 

Sept 19. Reached the Leydenberg flats 
and camped some 5 or 6 miles from the town. 
No more high veldt but steep barren moun- 
tains on every side. We here discovered our 
proximity to the enemy's country — a deserted 
farm lying about a mile oflF, visited, however, 
in the day time by its owner, who had treked 
into Leydenberg. 

Sept 20. Marched into Leydenberg. Time 
occupied from Pietermaritzburg 23 days, of 
which we halted four. The distance supposed 



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380 miles. We had, however, diverged from 
the direct route. Somebody said our guide 
led us astray on purpose, to visit a sweetheart 
at a Dutchman's farm; but, however, that 
might be, we certainly got over 400 miles in 
19 days, a performance of which we were not 
a little proud. The hills must have been 
rather frequent, for we had climbed 3500 feet 
from Pietermaritzburg. 

Leydenberg is a pretty town with abun« 
dance of trees and watercourses. The Standard 
Bank of British South Africa has a branch 
here, although, we believe business is very 
slack since the cessation of work at the gold 
fields, close by. The town, which was pre« 
viously the centre of a republic of its own, 
before being incorporated with the Transvaal, 
has shops with the usual inferior goods at 
unheard of prices. The rate of transport from 
Durban at this time was 40s. per 100 lbs., a 
fact that storekeepers did not fail to make the 
most of. As a waggon carries from 6000 to 
8000 lbs., the owner of one waggon could make 
some £120 to £160, for the up journey, and 
have the down journey as well. The latter 



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would probably clear lis few expenses and 
replace any bullocks he might happen to loose. 
This is most certainly the way to make money, 
but the labour is intense. The Government 
load for waggons is 4500 lbs., but their oxen 
are not so well looked after as the transport 
riders are. 

Our transactions at the shop consisted in 
purchasing tobacco at 7s. per lb., and one 
bottle of beer at 5s. 6d. The ordinary price 
■of this tamarind tobacco is 3s., and of beer at 
Durban Is. 6d., which allows a fair margin for 
profit. These people did not, in the least, 
object to fleecing we poor soldiers who had 
•come to rid them of their bugbear, SecocoenL 

From Leydenberg to Delagoa Bay is, we 
believe, 140 miles. There is no doubt but 
that under a settled Government the place will 
•develop. The road to the coast after crossing 
the Lembombo divide becomes desperately un- 
healthy. Travellers during nine months of the 
year being attacked by fevers of virulent and 
fatal character. The tetse fly also prevents the 
use of oxen and horses for draught purposes. 
This fly lives in the bush, and attacks horse 



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and oxen, stinging them ; one bite is enough^ 
and they waste and died the next rain. It 
is harmless to man. One firm of merchants 
endeavoured to organize a camel train, but the 
result was a failure. A railway will ultimately 
be constructed, the Portugese Government 
having expressed its willingness to find money. 
The graziers and grain producers of the 
Northern part of the Transvaal will thus pro- 
cure a ready means of forwarding their wool, 
hides, and com to the best harbour of South 
AMca. This railway would no doubt have 
been started before but for the most determined 
opposition of the colonists of Natal. The 
Natal Government levy taxes and customs on 
all things disembarked at Durban for the 
Transvaal. Their roads are full of Transvaal 
produce ; their inns of Transvaal people. 
Therefore they oppose it. By this raQway 
Natal would loose half its revenue ; more than 
half, in fact. They oppose Confederation, be- 
cause the common sense of a united assembly 
would trample on the meaness thus perpetra- 
ted. This railway to Leydenberg from Dela- 
goa Bay would save a journey of five months 



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at least, and would reduce the cost of all 
things. By taking European produce, and 
consequently English tradesmen, into the 
country, it would do more to pacify the Trans- 
vaal than all the troops we now are sending 
out. Then the trade into the vast interior 
would be increased tenfold, and civilization 
with it. 

The Colonial Office, no doubt, knows this, 
and probably the scheme will be taken in hand 
by them to some purpose. It is far better to 
come from them than from any of the Colonial 
Governments, who would only make a party 
matter of the affair. 

The gold fields at Leydenburg are played 
out ; there never was alluvial or riverbed gold, 
only pockets in the hills where the trains of 
many centuries had washed it into fissures of 
the rocks. It never payed particularly well, 
and there is no doubt it will soon die out. Old 
Australian diggers were woefully disappointed 
with it. Leydenberg must then turn to its 
proper use — a depot for the interior markets. 



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CHAPTEK III. 

Sept 21. T EFT this outpost of civilisation 
•^ early on our advance to Fort- 
Burgers. The track resembled the bed of a 
mountain torrent more than anything else, and 
led along the foot of rugged hills whose slopes 
were covered with a dense growth of thorn 
bushes. The heat now became oppressive, and 
henceforth we were dependent for water on the 
rivers Spekboom and Steelport ; of other supply 
during our operations we saw none. Fort- 
Burgers is situated at the confluence of these 
two rivers, and is surrounded by the usual 
barren hills and dense thorn. 

Of the operations under Col. Rowlands, V.C., 
it is not our purpose here to speak. The force 
at his disposal was quite inadequate to approach 
Secocoeni's Town even had we been supplied 
with water. The suflFerings of the 13th Light 



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Infantry on their march were painful to witness, 
and Colonel Rowlands might well say the game 
was not worth the candle. 

Hostilities consisted in marching under a 
broiling sun at the foot of steep mountains, 
whence the Basutos fired with such weapons 
and skill as they were possessed of. Fortu- 
nately the damages were small. In the words 
of one of our men in the Zulu War, " This is 
diflferent to Secocoeni's, where they used to 
come down and fire a bucket of powder and a 
bag of bullets at us without hitting, and then 
go away to bed." 

Why President Burgers got into a conflict 
about such a hopeless country is more than we 
can discover. Moreover, when he was in it he 
and his Boers failed lamentably in their attack. 
The Dutchmen showed a great want of alacrity 
in joining their Commandoes. What fighting 
took place was done chiefly by English and 
German mercenaries ; and, on the whole, Mr. 
Burgers (who by the way is a clergyman by 
profession) did not shine as a military leader 
or war minister. 

To add to our troubles, horse sickness 



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declared itself in one corps, in the first week 
of October. Of this disease I know no remedy, 
neither did Mr. Duck of the Royal Artillery, 
our veterinary surgeon, ever discover any. 
This officer had ample scope for studying the 
symptoms of this scourge, which carried off 
its victims in periods, varying from four to 
twenty-four hours. The symptoms are, heav- 
ing in the flanks, horse alternately lies down 
and rises every five minutes. The last falls 
to the ground are accompanied by a profuse 
discharge of white frothy matter from the 
nose. The only precautions we could adopt 
were to draw away the dead animal imme- 
diately, bum the head collar, and bury the 
usual discharge. Latterly, the deaths were 8 
or 10 per diem. Every cavalry officer will 
imagine the feelings with which we saw dis- 
appear, the poor animals that had marched 
with us so many hundred of miles, since the 
formation of the corps. These horses were 
mostly bred in the Stormberg a very extensive 
district of the Cape Colony between Queens- 
town and Dordrecht. The average price was 
X22. Those that survived the dangers of the 



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previous campaign were invaluable, though 
not much to look at. They were short hardy 
horses, 14*3, or thereabouts, inured to short 
rations and other privations. The breed of 
horses in South Africa is deteriorating year by 
year, the farmers from increased attention to 
ostrich farming and other causes, neglecting 
the horse. In former times Cape horses were 
well known in India, now the whalers or 
Australian horses have taken their place. In 
the Zulu war at a later date, when alongside 
the K.D.G's. and 17th Lancers, we congratu- 
lated ourselves on not being mounted on 
English horses, the majority of whom gave 
way under the hardships of the campaign. 
At the same time it would be out of the 
question to mount an English Cavalry Kegi- 
ment in South Africa, as there is necessarily 
a limit to even what the Cape horse wiU carry. 
We regret we never inquired during the war 
what weight a Lancer's horse carried. Sword, 
lance, carbine, 100 rounds of ammunition, 
blankets, picket pegs, with valise and cloak, 
in addition to the trooper, made up a weight 
most distressing and inconvenient. To return 



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to the horse sickness, I have heard that the 
Boers have a nostrum which cures horses in 
the earlier stages. It was not, however, to 
their interest to cure ours, as we had of course 
to procure fresh ones, which meant a ready 
sale for theirs. They, the Boers, occasionally 
bring forward a so-called " salted " horse, that 
is, one which has had the sickness and re- 
covered. They say that a horse can never be 
attacked a second time. On this account sums 
of £70 to £100, are demanded for these 
animals, a portion of the price to lie over till 
the immunity from disease of the horse be- 
comes an established fact. We do not know 
how this arrangement works. On the 13th 
October, whilst a portion of Corps was patrol- 
ling the gold fields, the regiment received orders 
through its commanding officer Capt. Watt 
WhaUey, from Colonel Rowlands, to remove bag 
and baggage and rejoin Colonel Buller, and 
march to Newcastle. At that time we had lost 
47 horses since our entrance to the Transvaal 
through sickness, besides those killed in action. 
We felt much sympathy with Colonel Row- 
lands, who saw himself beaten out of the 



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country by causes utterly beyond his controL 
Two British regiments, with several thousand 
native auxiliaries, and a good transport train 
and commissariat department were required 
by Sir Garnet to get possession of Secocoeni'a 
stronghold, and water, when Sir Garnet was 
there was plentiful. We arrived in Leyden- 
berg on the 3rd inst. with the headquarters, 
and a large train of ox- waggons having taken 
a westerly and better track along the Water- 
fall valley to return with. There are several 
farms (then deserted) on this road, with a 
tropical vegetation in the valley, and, I fancy, 
the inseparable fever. One of our Dutch 
waggon drivers owned one of these farms, and 
he complained bitterly of his hard lot. As his 
ramshackle waggons were earning £1 10s. a 
day each, with a load not to exceed 3000 (the 
usual one is 8000), we could not give him 
much sympathy. The day after our arrival, 
whilst getting ready for our march southward, 
we were surprised by an order to saddle up 
one hundred men, and return with all speed 
to Colonel Kowlands. The Colonel meditated 
giving the natives a gentle reminder before 



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leaving them. The business in question re- 
lated to a stad (camp) on the other side of the 
Steelport in a strong position on high ground, 
commanded by still higher mountains. This 
was stormed by the 13th Light Infantry and 
some native allies in first-class style. Although 
the loss in killed and wounded to that gallant 
corps was not great, the whole affair was most 
creditable to all parties concerned. We had 
many a march with the 13th before leaving 
Africa, and a finer body of officers and men 
it has never been our lot to have for neigh- 
bours. With a year or two more of War 
Office reforms, we suppose that this famous 
regiment will also be one of the skeletons, 
reminding one by its numbers only, if per- 
chance even that escape, of what an English 
regiment had been. They have been called on, 
and that too nearly the moment they returned, 
to furnish volunteers for service in India. 
Since then they have been again stripped till 
but few old Africans are in their ranks. After 
this attack on Tolyana (we think that was the 
name), we fled southward with our utmost 
speed. We marched seventy miles in two 



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days^ Captain Whalley thinking to save what 
could be saved of the remainder of our horses. 
On Nov. 4 we drew rein on the shore of Lake 
Chrassie, a pool of stagnant water, useless 
alike for ablution or drinking. It covers 1 00 
acres, with a depth of about 18 inches. We 
passed several decent farms on this route, 
which was to the eastward of that we had 
previously used. One of them was pointed 
out to us as belonging to a Boer who had been 
fined £100 for cowardice in the matter of the 
Commandoes against Secocoeni. We do not 
know if it was paid or not. Most of these Boers 
were supposed to be friendly. In fact, we are 
convinced that all of those with good houses, 
homesteads, and a stake in the country of any 
magnitude think in their heart of hearts, that 
British rule is a desirable one, an improvement 
on the bankrupt anarchy of the South African 
Kepublic, 

A more lamentable state of ajSairs than that 
existing in the South African Kepublic before 
the annexation cannot be conceived. The 
President, before departing, gave in his final 
address a very accurate picture of things as 



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they were. He evidently considered the case 
quite hopeless. The complete demoralisation 
can be best summed up by saying, as, indeed, 
President Burgers said plainly, " The native 
enemies were taking possession of the soil of 
the Kepublic, and that there was not a Boer 
who would fight, neither was there a sovereign 
in the exchequer of the state." 

On Nov. 7 we camped on the Vaal Kiver. 
Here dwelt one Buhrmann, an enlightened Boer, 
with a solid stone house, outbuilding, and 
orchards. All this man's family spoke perfect 
English, probably the younger ones knew but 
little DutcL Their education had, moreover, 
taught them to exercise considerable acuteness 
in matters of business, and to open their 
mouths widely. The following day we en- 
camped on a nearly stagnant stream, at a place 
called Kobertson, after two Scotch brothers, 
who have there large stores and an ostrich 
enclosure. 

Several days* halt was made to take stock 
of deficient equipment ; and one day was oc- 
cupied by all the officers in roaming through the 
country looking for newly-purchased horses 



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which had strayed. On this day we called at 
several Dutch farms mostly showing signs of 
indolence or poverty. We were everywhere 
received with civility, and every information 
given us. This, it must be remembered, was 
antecedent to the Zulu War, which was ex- 
pected to break out every day. 

Consequently our temporizing Dutch neigh- 
' hours saw it was their interest to treat us with 
consideration. On the 20th Nov. we arrived 
at Wakkerstrom, or Wesselstrom, a neat little 
village, that will some day rise to be a town of 
importance. Two days later we marched to 
the position we were to occupy at Eland's 
Neck, till the war broke out. It is midway 
between Utrecht and Wakkerstrom 16 miles 
from either. 

This concludes a record of over a thousand 
miles of travel and march. 



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CHAPTER IV. 

AN the 10th of March, 1879, we found our- 
^ selves on that most uncomfortable of 
vehicles a Natal post-cart, en route from 
Durban for Estcourt. We were there to join 
a detachment of Irregular Horse. They were 
on their march to join Wood's column then 
at Kambula. Between the jolts one had time 
to speculate on what manner of men we had 
the task of marching some 200 miles of 
country with. One previous experience of 
newly raised volunteers had, we are bound to 
say, prejudiced us most strongly against them: 
they appeared to be rough, undisciplined and 
disrespectful to their officers, fearfully slovenly 
and the veriest drunkards and winebibbers 
that ever took carbine in hand. On the other 
hand they looked, what they eventually were. 



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just the rough and hardy men to wage a 
partisan warfare against an active enemy. 
The steeds they bestrode were as hardy as 
themselves. In short, they were the makings 
of a rough but effective force, could they ever 
be brought into anything like order. It needed 
a thoroughly masterful man, like Colonel Ked- 
vers Buller, to bring these desperadoes into 
subjection. After a dusty and uncomfortable 
journey we reached P.M.B., as the Natalians 
love to call Pietermaritzburg, at six. Seven 
found us at dinner in the Royal Hotel, a good 
one for Natal. We were detained a day at 
Maritzburg, and on the 1,2th of March left it 
by post-cart. This 12th of March was the 
day set apart for a day of Humiliation by the 
Governor : all shops were closed and business 
totally suspended. The people of P.M.B. did 
not look as humiliated as they ought to be, in 
fact the day was gone by for that : most of 
them thought it a bore, others took advantage 
of a holiday and a fine day, and went on pic- 
nics. The danger of invasion which had lain 
on the coimtry so long was just lifting. The 
first of a great series of reinforcements had 



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arrived; the "Shah" had landed her Naval 
Brigade and her St. Helena garrison; the 
"Tamar" had landed the 57th, brought from 
Ceylon ; and the telegram flashed the number 
of regiments already more than half way 
on their voyage. To return to our journey ; 
just outside the town came the awful town 
hill, up whose steep sides, in wet weather it 
takes a week for bullocks to climb the five 
miles. At all the stiff pulls we had to get out 
and trudge behind the cart, for though the 
post-cart proprietors covenant to deliver your 
body in a more or less battered condition to 
your destination, the unlucky traveller finds 
that a considerable portion of the way must 
be compassed on his own supporters. After a 
weary climb we reached the hill top, and then 
scrambling on to our perches we held on by 
the skin of our teeth and our eyelids to the 
slipping mail-bags on which we sit. While we 
tear down the gentle slope that stretches to 
Howick, we can glance at what a Natal post- 
cart is like. Imagine then a square box 
perched on two strong wheels, the paint ante- 
diluvian at least and of a dingy red, very 



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roughly made, very strong and elastic. The 
horses are six in number, wild, untrained, 
matched on undiscoverable principles, wheeler 
one day, leader next. The driver a half caste, 
generally looking more or less demoniacal in 
voice and features, when, urging on his horses 
already galloping freely, he stands up in the 
swaying vehicle and plys his long whip with 
fierce yells. The horses are arrayed in harness 
that would make a London saddler stare, it 
consists of breaststrap, instead of collar and 
traces; it is much showier both in the team 
driven the stage into and out of any town. 
The travellers, one sits on either side pf the 
driver in a sort of pill box much too small for 
them, the driver's box is raised six inches or 
so, the people on the back-seat, two or three 
in number, all perched on the top of the mail- 
bags; they cling with desperate energy but 
feel utterly helpless and at the mercy of their 
driver. The pace is a good gallop at all times. 
Arrived at Howick, we lunched and then 
strolled out to see the waterfall of the Um- 
gemi river, which is certainly a grand spectacle, 
the water plunges some 350 feet sheer down 



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into a pool below, a dense spray rises to a 
considerable height from the pool and rare and 
beautiful ferns clothe the sides of the chasm ; 
on this occasion the volume of water was not 
large. The ford is just above the fall, and 
instances of whole waggons and teams being 
washed over are told. 

Towards night we reached a hut by the 
wayside, dignified by the name of hotel and 
called Currie's Post, here we were to pass the 
night. This we did in a double-bedded room, 
the occupant of the other bed was a Dutch- 
man, who said he had not been in bed for a 
week, his snores presently proved his assertions. 
Remonstrances were totally unavailing, light 
cavalry in the shape of boots and brushes were 
equally ineffectual, heavy dragoons in the form 
of a carpet bag also useless. At last we had 
to drag our aching frame,' black and blue from 
the jolting, across the room, shaking and 
severer measures failed to in any way disturb 
him, and finding it utterly useless had to leave 
him to sleep the sleep of the just. 

At six we again started and breakfasted, 
after some few miles, at Weston or Mooi river ; 



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we reached Estcourt at three. The road in 
places is simply fearful, a hill side near Kark- 
loof especially bad. One shuddered as the 
thought of the dreadful suflFerings of the 
wounded flashed across you. Their agony as 
they had to pass over any road in Natal must 
have been awful. They are totally at the 
mercy of the drivers of ambulances, mostly 
some cold blooded Hottentot, and in spite of 
€very exertion the doctors or the men of the 
Army Hospital Corps can make, they must feel 
the roads terribly. 

At Estcourt we found our detachment en- 
camped, and directly afterwards several hun- 
dred horses passed through on their way from 
the Orange River Free State, where they were 
bought, to Maritzburg. We promptly acted 
on our authority from the Eemount Com- 
mittee, and mounted the detachment. The 
mode of selection was primitive in the ex- 
treme ; the horses were driven into a stone 
enclosure, called a kraal, every man then went 
in with a halter and from the plunging and 
kicking mass selected what suited himself. 
The result being with men who did not know 



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about horses absurd, some large men got small 
horses and vice versa ; this was soon rectified. 
The knowing ones got ponies as a rule, short, 
wiry, and thick little brutes that could wear 
down any big horse by sheer dint of superior 
powers of endurance. The best colour to take 
was bay or brqwn, as grey horses aflford a 
much better target than either of these two 
colours. The next few days were most fear- 
ftdly busy, and what with getting men's 
names, list of stores, getting men's regimental 
numbers and making them undergo a thorough 
medical inspection, not much time was to 
spare; then the horses had to be shod, branded, 
hoof-marked and saddles fitted on. The men, 
many of them knowing little about riding, 
had to be taught; they learnt by dint of 
falling ojff, and at last managed to stick on 
well enough. The falls were many, as riders 
were bad and horses young and untaught. 
The men entered into their new duties with 
all sailors' heartiness, and were very glad to 
be at last mounted, as they had had a long 
weary march from Durban up the dusty roads. 
The events of the next fortnight would be 



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needless to particularize. It would interest no 
one to know the various duties performed and 
the country passed over. We will merely say 
that the whole of Natal, except the coast-belt, 
is a succession of treeless terraced plateaux. 
The towns, so called, consist of a church, two 
public-houses, a police station, laager and a 
couple of stores, where the prices charged were 
more or less extortionate. At Colenso, where 
there is a fine iron bridge, complete in all but 
two arches, over the Tugela, we had the mis- 
fortune to camp on bad ground; a fearftd 
thunderstorm came on, and we did not awake 
until a small but lively river began to trickle 
down our back ; on lighting a candle the sight 
that met our eyes did not cheer us; our 
clothes were wet through, provisions ditto, 
ourselves as bad : we had eventually to collect 
and make a pile of everything and sat till 
morning on the table, a gruesome spectacle. 

At Newcastle, Sir Bartle Frere, passing us 
on his way to Pretoria, addressed the men, 
wishing them, in answer to their hearty cheers, 
every success. The High Commissioner him- 
self travelled in a rough mule waggon, and it 



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was not saying a little for his zeal and deter- 
mination when he took such a long journey, 
with a possibility of maltreatment at the 
hands of the Boers to crown all. A few days 
pre^ously we had passed Sir Theophilus Shep- 
stone sitting in a like conveyance, eating his 
frugal dinner while the mules grazed around, 
and contemplating a fearful hill he had to 
ascend with the most disconsolate looks. 

Next Utrecht, in the Transvaal, was reached, 
all the inhabitants were in laager here every 
night, and a complete panic prevailed among 
the towns-people. The laager was garrisoned 
by the 4th Bang's Own under Colonel Bray. 
The first field hospital for Wood's column was 
here. 

In the proper sequence of events the actions at 
Kambula and Zlobane should next be recorded. 
As they have been so frequently described in 
recent works they shall be briefly dismissed. 
At this time Ekowe was in the act of being 
relieved by Lord Chelmsford. For that pur- 
pose he was to advance from the Tugela. 
General Wood received orders to make a 
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At that time he was encamped at Kambula 
Kop, about twenty-three miles from the Zlo- 
bane. This mountain was deemed to be impreg- 
nable by the Zulus. It was a huge square 
mountain, with rocky precipitous sides with a 
flat top some four or five miles long, and of a 
good breadth. There was only one way up 
which was hard and difficult, and at the other 
end there was a way down, but it was well-nigh 
impracticable. Possibly there may have been 
unknown cattle paths down its side. Colonel 
Buller set out to attack this on the 27th of 
March, with 400 mounted men from Kambula 
and the posts round, and some native allies. 
He reached after a long ride the foot of the 
Zlobane about night fall, riding on after dark 
and changing his position so as to avoid being 
surprised in the night. The night was gloomy 
and damp. At dawn the next morning every- 
one was up and ready early. The Colonel was 
no man for delay, and at once advanced. The 
end of the mountain where the road up lies, was 
the place selected for attack. Here the enemy 
was in force. A round knoll rose at the foot 
of, but detached from, the moimtain. The 



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enemy lined the rocks of the mountain side. 
Colonel Buller sent two troops to the top of 
the mound or knoll. Under cover of their 
fire the attack was delivered, the hill taken in 
good form by the Irregulars, leading their 
horses up the steep sides, and thus the hitherto 
impregnable mountain was taken. It was so 
far a very gallant affair. Arrived at the top 
the men scattered and fired at their foes below 
them in the rocks. Captain the Baron von 
Steitenkvon was here shot as he was leaning 
over the edge of the hill. It is well to cut a 
painful story short. By a most extraordinary 
chance the picked Zulu army was on its way 
to attack Kambula. It heard the firing, 
diverged, and was seen in the distance. His- 
tory says, some mistake as to placing the 
videttes took place, but not by any one under 
Col. Buller's orders. However, that may be, 
it is no use opening up old wounds. To 
retreat down the road that the mountain was 
ascended by was impossible. The only way 
was to move along the top of the hiU, and 
chance getting down at the other end. General 
Wood who had been coming to see how the 



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operations went on, had Captain the Hon. 
I^onald Campbell, one of his staff, killed. 
Captain Barton of the Coldstream Guards, 
serving with the Irregulars, went to bury his 
body with a small troop of the Frontier Light 
Horse. Caught by the advancing wave of 
Zulus, they were never again seen alive. 
Colonel Weatherley was with the whole of his 
corps, save seven men, killed. All his officers, 
and his son, a boy of fifteen, fell by his side. 
Piet Uys, the brave Dutch farmer fell, and 
many more Irregulars, at various place. At the 
end of the mountain the descent was fearful, 
and the casualities great. The men led their 
horses down as well as they could. The Zulus 
who had retired into the rocks on the moun- 
tains being stormed, now re-appeared, followed 
plong the hill and closed up. The havoc was 
dire, and save for the heroic efforts of Colonel 
Buller would have been extermination. Six 
lives he is known to have saved that day per- 
sonally, how many more by his orders and 
example, it would be impossible to tell. 
Major Knox Leet of the 13th Lt. Infantry, 
serving with some native allies, brought off 



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Lieut. Smith of the Frontier Light Horse, on 
a pack horse — ^his own was shot — and earned 
the V.C. Some of the Light Horse kept in 
some measure the advancing Zulus back, and 
enabled the rear-guard to extricate themselves. 
The mounted Infantry ought to have been 
here to support the Irregulars, and keep down 
the fire, while they descended the hilL How- 
ever, orders were sent to them, and were either 
ill delivered or misunderstood, for instead of 
being in position on the neck leading down 
from the Zlobane, they were on the Zinguin 
neck The main body under Colonel Buller 
having managed to extricate themselves from 
the defile, leaving many dead behind, pursued 
their way. The great army of the Zulus did 
not come within shot of this body. However, 
the two or three thousand of the enemy who 
had occupied the Zlobane, and who had bfeen 
beaten in the morning followed them, and for 
liiiles the fight continued. Many officers and 
men fell, Lieut. WiUiams and Potter of the 
Kegulars, and it was late before the broken 
Irregulars reached camp utterly crushed. The 
<5nly bright spot to remember, is the heroic 



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courage of Col. Buller, Major Rnox Leet, 
Captain Cecil D'arcy of the Light Horse and 
others. Capt. D'arcy received the V.C. at 
Ulundi; but deserved it often at Zlobane. 
The camp was found entrenched by General 
Wood who surely foresaw the morrow's attack. 
The butcher's bill was a heavy one that night, 
and Adjutants' had difficulty in making it out. 
The losses in horses was large, and the Cavalry 
of Wood's column was for the time paralyzed. 
Now for the bright side of the picture. Early 
next morning General Wood received intelli- 
gence from a native, that the Zulus had left 
Zlobane and were marching to attack him. 
Two companies who had gone to the neigh- 
bouring hills wood-cutting were re-called, and 
about noon came in. At the same time an im- 
mense mass of Zulus were seen to emerge from 
near the Zinguin neck, and advance steadily 
towards Kambula. They come very steadily 
on in regular formation. As they passed a 
broad track was made through the long grass, 
which was completely destroyed. Their num- 
bers were estimated at 25,000 men. The 
Basutos, who had stuck like leeches to the 



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cattle on the Zlobane the day before and 
brought them off safely, left the laager and 
refused to stay. Through the, fight they 
hovered round the flank of the Zulus firing 
continually. The position at Kambula was at 
the end of a long peninsula of a hill if we 
may call it so. The fortifications were three 
in number, and were at the three angles of 
an equilateral triangle. The first which was 
garrisoned by some of the 13th and 90th L.L, 
was on the highest point, it was of earth faced 
with stone. Here General Wood commanded. 
Down a gentle slope was the laager, it was 
formed of waggons placed in a square : sods 
were placed round the waggons up to a level 
of the axle trees, and again above on the top. 
Two tiers of fire could thus be obtained. On 
the side nearest the fort, the 90th and 13th 
were, on the right more of the 90th, the third 
side was held by Irregulars, and the fourth by 
the 1 3th and 90th again. This laager contained 
all the horses, and the hospital. The horses 
were attached to picket lines. The last defence 
was likewise a laager, but contained the trans- 
port oxen. It was much smaller, and held by 



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one company of the IStli. Between the fort, as 
the little round stone entrenchment was called, 
and the laager, the guns were placed, four in 
number. Two more were close to the fort, they 
were mountain guns, one got disabled early 
in the fight. On the right the ground rose 
abruptly from the plain below. To the front 
it was level on the plateau at the hill top. 
On the kft just under the cattle laager there 
was a krantz or precipice, on the rear the 
ground sloped gradually. 

Some mounted troops sallied out to draw on 
the enemy. General Wood wished to irritate 
the Zulus into attacking on one side before the 
other, in other words to beat them: in detail. It 
succeeded. After exchanging shots the mounted 
troops retired to the laager. Lieut. Browne of 
the 24th, serving with mounted Infantry earned 
a V.C. by rescuing a man whose horse was shot. 
The right side was attacked about one by the 
enemy, who were received with such a tre- 
mendous volley by the 90th that they never 
again attacked that face. They had more 
cover on all the other sides, and availed them- 
selves of it. The fighting was now fast and 



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furious, attacks being delivered time after time 
by the enemy, who advanced with the greatest 
gallantry. They were very badly off for pro- 
visions, and actually ate some provisions of 
the Irregulars under a hot fire. The tents 
had of course been struck, but as some of the 
men had been getting their dinner when the 
alarm sounded, some of the provisions were 
outside. The enemy took advantage of any 
cover there was about, to annoy by a hot fire. 
They then used to gather and make a gallant 
rush. Availing themselves of the precipice 
under the cattle laager, they took that position 
and the garrison had to retire to the other. 
Two companies of the 90th tried to retake 
under Major Hackett, they, however, had to 
retreat with their leader most fearfully 
wounded. About half-past four some of the 
13th, and some Irregular Volunteers under 
Raaf, left the horse laager, and advanced to 
the edge of the precipice by Col. Buller's 
order. They took the Zulus in the Bank and 
firing down the precipice killed numbers tiU 
forced to retire. Colonel Buller commanded 
in the laager. The artillery was fought well 



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and was in the open between the laager and 
the fort. The greatest loss came from some 
rocks some 1200 yards off, from whence the 
enemy kept up a galling fire. Two men were 
especially good shots, brothers they were said 
to be when found dead afterwards with a pile 
of empty cartridges beside them. The great 
question now was, would ammunition hold out> 
the attack had been so desperate and pro- 
longed, that it was for hours a toss up who 
would win. It showed no falling off as yet. 
It was lucky two such exceptional regiments 
as the 13th and 90th were engaged. The 
result even in the hands of General Wood, 
might have been different, had two boy 
regiments been engaged. Towards five a 
shiver seemed to run through the enemy, and 
all in a moment they broke and fled. Um- 
beline had led them gallantly the whole day, 
rumour said he was now wounded. The 
broken relics of the Irregular horse now 
sallied out in pursuit. The horses were so 
thoroughly done up by the fatigues of the 
previous day, that the pursuit was not so 
ruinous as it would otherwise have been. 



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Nevertheless under the vigorous direction of 
Colonel Buller, it was well sustained till night- 
fall. The enemy were so exhausted that they 
made no fight of it, but were shot down. 
However they had sent away all the Zlobane 
cattle which they had re-captured early in the 
fight. Night fell on the scattered fugitives 
and saved them. The Irregulars returned. 
In this battle the Zulus lost at least 2500 men. 
It was by far the hardest of the war, and 
coming as it did on two defeats, Isandula and 
Zlobane, raised the spirits of the soldiers 
enormously. From that hour General Wood 
and Colonel Buller possessed in even a greater 
degree, the unbounded confidence of their 
troops. That battle saved the Transvaal frona 
a Zulu invasion. If it had been lost the Boers 
would have been annihilated. 



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CHAPTER V. 

/\UR next duty was to convey the wounded 
^ from Kambula down to the nearest hos- 
pital at Utrecht; a most tedious and at the 
same time truly fearful task The roads, or 
rather tracks, were terribly rough and full of 
holes, the ambulances very carelessly driven, in 
spite of the eflforts of the doctors. With the 
first convoy a halt had to be made on the banks, 
of the Blood River, which was in high flood. 
The Blood River divides the Transvaal and 
Zululand, it is so called from a battle between 
the Boers and Zulus when the river ran blood 
from the quantity of slain. The flood was so 
high waggons could not cross, ambulances had 
to be sent for from Balte Spruit on the op- 
posite side ; they arrived at ten p.m., a light 
span bridge was thrown across the river by a 



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company of the 13tli regiment, and the camp 
entrenched for the night. A most miserable 
night was then passed by the Irregulars who 
had crossed to the opposite bank, the swamp 
was four inches deep in water, mosquitoes 
aggressive in the extreme — ^the only way to rest 
was to lean against the waggon wheel. Towards 
day the bridge, which had been broken by 
the force of the cmrrent during the night, was 
repaired. The sick and wounded were trans- 
ferred across the stream, they then had to be 
carried through the worst part of the swamp 
to the waggons some quarter of a mile off. 
The waggons could not get nearer, the ground 
being too soft. The sufferings of the wounded 
must have been extreme, as they were carried 
in dhoolys over the rough ground and through 
deep pools. It was curious to observe the 
difference in men, thus equally suffering ; 
some never uttered a sound; others groaned 
most horribly; some only expressed fierce 
anxiety to be getting on ; others were sunk in 
profound apathy and seemed utterly indif- 
ferent to all around them. 

As we proceeded, we often had to halt to 



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administer brandy to some poor fellows wlio 
were sinking, and once or twice to find that 
some of the number had breathed his last, in 
spite of all the care that under such circum- 
stances could be given to them. One in 
particular I remember, a poor old soldier of 
twenty-eight years' service, he had been 
wounded at Kambula and had sank under the 
awful sufiferings incidental to such a journey. 
At last we reached Balte Spruit, and were glad 
to get rest, having been twenty-four hours 
without food. The next day we escorted the 
wounded a few miles on the road to Utrecht, 
and were met by a fresh escort to whom we 
handed them over. 

A day or two later we joined Wood's column 
at Kambula, having escorted ammunition to 
replace that expended in the fight of the 29th. 
Our next duty was a patrol to Luneberg in 
.the Transvaal to convey despatches ; this was 
an entirely new part of the country to us. It 
was a long barren ride, having been raided 
through repeatedly by the enemy under 
Umbeline, a savage chief of free-booters. 
Near here Moriarty's party of the 80th had 



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been cut off on the Intombi River, a tributary 
of the Pongola, Luneberg itself is inhabitated 
principally by German settlers, it is built 
round a mission station. ;It has the usual 
stores and a Lutheran church. We were most 
hospitably received by the small garrison, who 
were most anxious for the news of the fights 
of the 28th and 29th of March. We were 
quartered for the night in the Lutheran church ; 
tired out with our long ride we selected each 
the most comfortable of the pews and fell 
asleep, nor was it till roused by the voices 
of the congregation singing Luther's morning 
hymn that we awoke. The people, with true 
German kindliness, knowing how tired we 
were, had let us sleep on. At first we did not 
know where we were and rubbed our eyes in 
surprise, affording a most edifying spectacle. 
It was really ludicrous to see the troopers who 
slept some distance down gradually awakening, 
whilst red nightcaps began to bob up one by 
one over the level of the pews. The expres- 
sion of their faces were various and amusing 
as the hymn pealed out all around them ; one, 
in particular, making frantic exertions to 



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conceal a goose he had killed a mile or two 
outside the town on the previous day, and 
which he feared some thrifty housewife would 
recognise, looked particularly sheepish. We 
returned hy way of Utrecht and reached 
Kambula withput further adventure. 

The next few days passed without special 
incident. The detachment of our corps at 
Kambula amounted to 170 men with some 
150 horses, but the greater portion were 
completely done up with constant patrols and 
the retreat from Zlobane. Our duties con- 
sisted of the usual regimental guards, cattle- 
guards, vedettes, night pickets, patrols, but the 
worst duty of all was the wood-fatigue. The 
nearest wood was some six miles off on the 
summit of a mountain. We had to go every 
day with the Infantry, to cut and carry it. It 
grew among huge rocks, and it was hard work 
to keep the men at their various duties, some 
throwing down, others carrying, some cutting 
and carrying it to the waggons some quarter 
of a mile off, more again loading it up. The 
huge rocks gave the men excellent oppor- 
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availed themselves ; it required all your 
energies to keep them at their work. The 
Captain of Infantry who commanded the united 
party had orders to report any officer, sitting 
down even, to General Wood; and however 
much the General was liked, no one desired 
a personal interview with him when he had to 
speak about a neglect of duty. The wood 
was principally used in the bakery which 
was always kept going. The daily ration 
of wood per man was only three pounds, 
which was afterwards reduced to one pound, 
this to cook everything but bread ; the men, 
however, managed to make out with cow- 
dung, which they collected, dried, and used as 
fuel. 

On the 16th of April, while escorting 
waggons to Balte Spruit, a survivor of 
Zlobane was discovered, a trooper, Grandier of 
Weatherley's Border Horse; he had been 
captured on the 28th of March and taken to 
Ulundi, as he said, though it must have been 
some other Kraal as his description did not 
tally with that of Ulundi. He had been sent 
back to Umbeline's people for torture, but 



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had managed to kiU one of his guards, the 
other running away. Grandier was in a fear^ 
ful state when found, naked, thin, and ahnost 
dying of exhaustion. He said that a day or 
two before the whole Zulu Army had passed 
within a short distance on their return march 
to the Royal KraaL They had evidently re- 
cruited at Zlobane after their defeat. He was 
promptly cared for, Umbeline had been shot 
some few days previous by the hand of Captain 
Prior of the 80th regiment, after a long chase . 
of some twelve miles; Umbeline who was 
certainly one of the most dashing of aU the 
Zulu generals, was a Swazi by birth ; he was 
the very man to carry out those guerilla 
tactics that the Zulus ought to have relied on 
for success. 

The kits of the officers who fell at Zlobane 
and Kambula were sold about this time, the 
prices realised were enormous — tins of pre- 
served meat which are sold at home for one 
shilling, here realized six shillings, matches as 
high in price as ninepence per box. Cigars 
and tobacco made fabulous prices, indeed 
one was almost tempted to think how much 



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our individual kits would have made. It was 
almost worth while being shot just to try. 

We went down on escort to Utrecht for a 
day, and there saw and interviewed Oham, a 
brother of Ketchwayo who had surrendered 
some time before, and the fetching away of 
whom from the heart of the Zulu country had 
been one of the most brilliant feats of the 
whole war. It was carried out under the 
direction of Colonel BuUer ; Oham and several 
attendants and wives were brought out by a 
bold dash. An absurd scene occurred crossing 
one of the rivers, two of Oham's wives were or 
pretended to be afraid of the water, two troop- 
ers were therefore told off to take the ladies on 
their backs and swim over ; one finding her 
cavalier rather knocking up in the transit, 
quickly dived off and swam like a duck to the 
shore, immediately the other followed suit and 
both reached the bank leaving their beareus 
struggling in the stream, to be received oa 
gaining the bank by the unmerciful laughter 
of their comrades. To add insult to injury the 
fsix ladies addressed them in Zulu, which the 
interpreter translated to be **HiBi no good,'* 



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a salutation which did not check the laughter. 
Poor ladies, they were not treated very chival- 
rously, for on Oham being driven in General 
Wood's trap to Utrecht, he complained very 
much of an iron rail that ran round the seat, 
so two ladies were put up and used as cushions, 
their lord sitting in their lap, no light infliction 
for them as he weighed some twenty honest 
stone. The way Oham used to knock about 
his attendants gave one some sort of idea how 
absolute the Zulu king and chiefs must be ; for 
the slightest offence the unhappy servant got 
a bang with a knob-kerrie on the head that 
bowled him over like a ninepin. Apropos of 
Oham, an oflScer who shared a tent with two 
others was shot or died of fever at Ekowe, 
among his things was a tinned ham, the two 
other officers who messed with him having 
frugal minds resolved, as prices were fearfully 
high, to sell the ham. It realized forty-five 
shillings which went to the mess account of 
the three. The heliograph that afternoon 
flashed the news to Ekowe that Oham had sur- 
rendered ; one of the two survivors burst into 
his tent where his comrade slept with the news. 



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His comrade enjo3dng his afternoon siesta only 
caught the word Oham, and something about 
being taken. " What," said he, " another ham, 
how jolly ! " regret for his dead comrade 
struggling against his joy at the supposed dis- 
covery of another treasure. We fancy Oham 
had an idea that he would be made by us King 
of Zululand after his brother was dethroned. 

On the 20th of April, at Kambula, we 
found the sun's meridian altitude to be 50** 
58' 30^ latitude 27' 32' 12", but on the 21st 
found the latitude to be 1T 37'. 

On the 22nd we left General Wood's colmnn 
to join our Commandant at Balte Spruit, our 
regiment, or corps, being allowed time to get 
into some shape now the various detachments 
were finally joined. Our strength was then 
some 260 men and 240 horses. 

On the 23rd the men were edified by the 
sight of a punishment parade, two regulars 
were flogged; this gave them food for most 
wholesome reflection. 

On the 29th we went wood-cutting, with a 
party of the 80th, to Domberg, some twelve 
miles from Balte Spruit; the Domberg Hill 



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70 

was full of game, deer and guinea-fowl^ with a 
few hares ; on our return we shot a splendid 
water-buck. 

At Balte Spruit we were kept constantly on 
the alert, with incessant patrols, the officer 
commanding the station being fearfully vigil- 
ant. He had one special bugbear in an 
inoffensive-looking knoll called Bambas Kop, 
some seven miles off; this seemed to require 
looking to at all hours of the day ; during the 
three weeks we were at Bambas Kop, the most 
vigilant search failed to discover anything 
larger than an ant on it at any time. 

On the 30th of April we had a small 
skirmish with some forty Zulus. Our party 
consisted of myself and white orderly with 
seven Basutos. We were reconnoitring some 
six miles over the Zulu border, and were 
suddenly fired on; the -Basutos loosed off in 
all directions wildly, they were so excited. 
The scene was characteristic, the Zulus shout- 
ing challenges to the Basutos to come up the 
hill, the Basutos challenging the Zulus to come 
down ; both parties fired at random, and the 
only damage done was a broken rifle-stock. 



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wliich a huge bullet from an elephant-gun had 
shivered. The Basutos used to level their 
guns over their horses' heads with one hand 
and fire wildly ; they are nevertheless capital 
Irregulars, the best scouts in the world, hardy, 
active, and enduring, their only faults are 
their excitability and their random shooting. 
Colonel Eedvers Buller coming up an hour 
later saw the Zulus, but they retreated along 
the rocky range of hills ; a large magazine of 
grain was burnt. 

The scenery in this part of Zululand is much 
the same as in Natal, the same rolling plateaux 
broken by hills, rugged and stony, with table- 
tops ; no trees are to be seen except just under 
the summit of a hill, the sort of tree is called 
by the soldiers cabbage-tree wood, the leaf is 
like a cabbage-leaf, and the wood like that of 
an elder-tree ; it is wet and full of pith. 

When we could get leave, which was but 
seldom, the banks of the Blood Eiver were 
searched for game, and we got duck, snipe, 
partridge, quail, and Cape pheasant ; tolerably 
thickly on the plains were pauw, a bird as 
large as a turkey, and very good eating. 



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Domberg gave pea-fowl, guinea-fowl and hare. 
The Blood River was fiill of fish, barbel, or 
something like them, I believe the real name 
is siluroid. Once we got a bigger fish in the 
Blood River, to wit, a man who had been 
drowned while crossing on horseback in a 
flood; he had some £200 in gold and notes 
in his pockets, which he had won at cards 
fipom his comrades ; he was buried on the bank 
then and there. 

On the 5th of May we first saw the Prince 
Imperial, a day or two later we were on a 
three days' patrol with him; the force was 
300 strong, under Colonel Buller, and was one 
of the usual patrols which he so often made, 
indeed, no sooner was he back from one patrol 
of three days, than he was off on another of 
the same length. At Balte Spruit the Prince 
asked for the Frenchmen of the Regiment, 
with these he shook hands and chatted, giving 
them sovereigns; two of the men taking a 
matter-of-fact view of the business, came and 
offered a sovereign for a bottle of brandy. 
We gave them two other sovereigns in ex- 
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gave them some brandy also, though I believe 
we laid ourselves open to a severe punish- 
ment ; we little thought at the time how soon 
we should prize these as relics. 

The Prince's passion for information was 
boundless, and the questions he used to put 
searching in the extreme. For instance, he 
would ask, " How many biscuits in a bag ? " of 
course, the unhappy commissariat oflScer thus 
tackled broke down ; the next question would 
be, " How many in a barrel ? " then : " Are 
there more in a barrel than a bag ? " to all the 
answer would be the same ; the Prince would 
then remark, "Great want of organization," 
and down would go the whole thing in his 
note-book. Then perhaps he might begin to 
query about the different qualities of the grass 
around him, and soon knew the difference be- 
tween sweet and sour veldt, what animals 
would do best on the former and what on the 
latter. 

We again joined the Column at Wolff's Hill, 
and got our first coal fatigues, the manner of 
mining would make a Northumberland miner 
stare in surprise. The coal lay in a regular 



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strata through a hill, the cutting was just 
made like a quarry ; the men who used to get 
it were mostly Cornish miners of the 13th and 
90th Kegiments ; as extra pay they got one 
shilling additional per diem, but as the damage 
done to their clothes was considerable, I don't 
think they profited much. 

Meridian altitude on the 9th of May was 
44° 54', and latitude was 27' 46'. Wolff's 
Hill lay on the south side of the Umvelosi 
Eiver, some three miles off, and was some 
eight miles off Kambula on the northern bank. 

On the 12th of May the corps got sixty new 
horses froin the Remount Committee, which 
made up the strength to the full number. 
Our Adjutant, Captain Whalley, left us here, 
to our great regret, to take command of a 
separate corps. On the 14th of May another 
patrol came off, but no considerable body of 
the enemy were seen, the chief good done was 
the survey of the existing road or track to 
Ulundi, and the discovery of another new one. 
On the 15th of May the Headquarters of the 
corps left Belte Spruit for Wolffs Hill, halting 
one night on the banks of the Blood Eiver, 



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where the 94th were stationed, with some 
artillery, Bettington's Horse and Native Horse, 
the whole in laager — Colonel Davies, of the 
Grenadier Guards, in command. On the 18th 
another three days' patrol went to verify pre- 
vious observations made as to the route. The 
men left were employed in guards, fatigues, 
escorts and coal-cutting. About this time the 
bodies of Lieutenant Williams, 58th, and 
Lieutenant Potter were buried, they were 
among the slain at Zlobane, the patrol was 
commanded by General Wood himself, and the 
bodies were found under the Zunguin neck. 

Lord William Beresford, 9th Lancers, joined 
here as staflF officer to Colonel Buller ; he had 
got six months leave from India, which he was 
using in Africa, he had been at the capture of 
Ali Musjid in Afghanistan. The duties of a 
staff officer must have been very heavy here, 
having to deal with the rough men of the 
Irregular Horse, and to take the records of 
adjutants more or less incompetent and unfit 
for their work ; however, the duties of staff 
officer were done well enough, even to please a 
man like the Colonel, who required all things 



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done thoroughly well. In all things CJolonel 
Buller was the same, and nothing better de- 
scribes him than "Thorough". The KaflSrs 
and Zulus called him the " Steam Engine," or 
rather their equivalent for it. This was from 
his ubiquity, and, indeed, he was truly ubiqui- 
tous. One morning in the gray mist stealing 
up some mountain side at the break of day, 
bursting suddenly on cattle kraals, and cap- 
turing and carrying off their inmates in face 
of a force more numerous by far than his own 
little band. Another time he would do some 
dashing act, like the burning of the Magulosine 
military kraal, an exploit hardly heard of at 
home; with a small force of 120 men the 
Colonel burnt a large kraal in face of an enemy 
seven times as numerous, to add to the diffi- 
culty it was situated in extremely rugged 
ground ; his opponents were a regular drilled 
regiment, but he brought off his force without 
any loss of life. He was stem and unbending 
to all around him, but no one could help both 
liking and admiring one who practised what 
he preached. He never flinched from hard 
work, and looked ever after the safety of the 



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Column with his scouts. It was a sight to 
see him standing on some eminence, such as an 
ant-heap, in the hottest fire, calmly looking 
through his telescope ; cool and self-reliant, he 
always waited for his chance, when it came, no 
one took advantage of it quicker or used it 
with such eflfect. 

The da/s duties were as follows as a rule. 
The camp reveille sounded at five a.m., every 
one turned out, and fell in with carbines, the 
roll was called, they then stood to arms till 
disperse sounded. Then came stables and 
feeding ; the grain ration per horse was five 
pounds weight, given in two feeds of two and 
a half pounds each at six a.m. and five p.m. ; 
when more grain could be got a feed was given 
at eight p.m., most men could make up that 
feed from the grain foraged. The men then 
dispersed for breakfast, after which the horses 
were let out under the guard. At ten a.m. 
the defaulters and prisoners came up for punish- 
ment, which were either fines or extra guards. 
At eleven a.m. came drill or carbine inspection. 
At twelve dinner came. The various fatigues 
had then to be got through. At five the 



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horses came in and were groomed and fed^ at a 
quarter to six an alarm bugle went and the 
men got into their places, and so accustomed 
were they to this that in the darkest night 
they knew their appointed place. In the mean- 
time the adjutant had got the next day's orders 
from the staflF officer who had received them at 
Head-quarters' tent, submitted them to Colonel 
Buller and by him been distributed. The 
mounted corps orders were then read with the 
regimental to the men. These orders went 
through three stages, and were first Head- 
quarters orders, then Mounted Corps orders 
and lastly Regimental orders. They went 
through many various hands before being read, 
but the whole process only took an hour. The 
Eegimental orders told oflF corps or troops, the 
duties for next day, and position of troops. 

The duties on the marching days were vari- 
ous, reveille went at quarter past four as a rule, 
breakfast (after feeding horses) at five, tents, 
kits, and stores on waggons and inarch Skt 
quarter past six. Two hours of hard work for 
all hands. One troop might be in advance of 
column, another reserve, a third rearguard 



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The post most coveted was the advance guard, 
which moved off at five a.m., scouting the 
country round ; if anything was seen, intelli- 
gence was at once sent to the general com- 
manding column and to Colonel Buller. It 
was seldom, however, that the Colonel was 
anywhere but in advance, for even after the 
column had got to its resting place, which it 
usually did at three p.m.. Colonel Buller would 
go with a small patrol and search a radius of 
seven miles round the caanp, not returning till 
seven at night often. Only one meal a day 
could be taken, dinner in the evening, break- 
fast used to be snatched while moving about 
in the morning in some sort of way. The food 
was always the same, the same eternal beef- 
steak, tough as a boot-sole ; how our poor 
teeth suffered. We never realized the old 
Eton epithet of " tugmutton " before we took 
a piece of trek ox between our jaws which re- 
coiled from the shock. Our cooks had no in- 
ventive powers, so it was beefsteak ever and 
ever, even putting it through a sausage ma- 
chine did not soften it (me whit, the only 
result was the flinty pieces chipped off wer^ 



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smaller in dimension. The vegetables were 
sometimes given out in the shape of " com- 
pressed vegetable," but the men often used 
these instead of tobacco, smoking them. For 
ourselves, though the great tobacco question 
came often home to us, we never were so 
utterly reduced as this. The tobacco of the 
country made by the Boers, and called Boer 
tobacco, is vile at first, but one gets really to 
like it after a time. A piece of Zulu tobacco 
picked up in a kraal, tided us over the worst ; 
it was as all the Zulu tobacco is, of excellent 
flavour and quality, though rather dry. The 
Zulus themselves use it for snuff, smoking a 
plant called Docker, resembling our wild carrot, 
it is of a strong and pungent flavour and 
rapidly stupefies the user ; their pipes are 
made of a cow's horn with a reed stem, they are 
fond of blowing the smoke through the water, 
this they do by means of another reed. They 
sneeze and the eyes water violently as they 
suck in the strong smoke. They also pound 
the tobacco and make snuff ; when taking snuff 
they sit down invariably and take huge pinches 
solemnly. 



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The tea and coffee served out to the men 
was most excellent in quality and abundant in 
quantity, sugar very fair : we soon learnt to 
take our tea without milk. 

The worst of the meat was, it had been only 
an hour or two killed before served out to the 
men ; the result was dysentery. The man who 
invented any mode of making beef tender de- 
served a medal. One thing we always got was 
bread, to this we. are indebted to Sir Evelyn 
Wood, who always made arrangements for the 
bakery himself, and insisted on its being con- 
tinually at work. He used to make arrange- 
ments for its transit himself, and the moment 
we reached camp it was at work ; it was going 
all night, and till the last moment before the 
start. 

On the 24th May, the Queen's birthday, 
a ration of rum was served to the men, 
(the soldiers called it Dabulamanzi — "twice 
watered"), it was Natal rum, however, and 
much diluted. On the 25th May, we left 
Wolff's Hill on our forward march ; on the way 
we had an alarm to see how long the waggons 
would be getting packed into laager. It was, 

6 



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as a trial, a complete success, two laagers were 
formed in an incredibly short time, the Irregu- 
lars scoured the country round, infantry skir- 
mishers were advanced, and aQ things done as 
if a real attack was intended. 

We camped at Mundhla Hill, the advance 
saw a few Zulus. A new draft of horses firom 
the Kemount Committee here reached us,' and 
some of our used up ones left for the Govern- 
ment Farm to recruit. On the 31st May one 
man was lost through his own carelessness, he 
was on cattle guard, and left his post to get 
wood and was never seen again. 

On the first of June, our column moved for- 
ward to join Newdigate, like ourselves, con- 
verging on the Itylezi River. Newdigate's 
column had been collected at Conference Hill 
and Domberg. It consisted oi the 17th 
Lancers, the 1st Dragoon Guards, the 21st 
Eoyal Scots Fusiliers, 24th (1st and 2nd bat- 
talions), the 58th and the 94th Regiments. 
Only two of the regiments, the 1st and 2-24th, 
were the first invaders of the Zulu territory, 
all the others were reinforcements. Besides 
the regulars were Bettington's Horse and 



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Shepstone's Basutos, with some Native Irre- 
gulars. The Imperial cavalry filled the 
Colonists with wonder, the size of the horses 
and equipments of the men, being the two chief 
attractions. The question here asked most 
frequently was, would the English horses stand 
the same amount of work as our handy little 
beasts on the same amount of grain. The 
regiments looked but poorly by our column, 
the majority of the troops were but boys ; our 
two regiments were bearded men, the 13th, 
who had been in the Transvaal since the 
Annexation, and who had been through Seco- 
coeni's war in particular. The 90th Light 
Infantry had also taken part in the old Colony 
war, and was a comparatively old regiment. 

Of course, it -took, as ever, some time for 
officers and men to get used to the country, 
and the freaks were absurd in some cases. 

An officer of the Eegiment, on arrival at 

the Buffalo Eiver, at once jumped to the con* 
elusion that there were herds of buffalo round. 
He immediately asked his Colonel for leave, 
and went out with an express to stalk; he 
was much disappointed to find but one buffalo, 



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84 

which, after a patient stalk, he shot. It 
needed the chaflF of his comrades, and the 
assurances of the conductor to make him 
realize that he had shot a sick trek ox. The 
huge horns of the Cape ox look quite different 
to ordinary cattle, and gave some colour to 
the mistake. The narration of facts that came 
imder the observation of the writer, with 
reference to the death of the Prince Imperial, 
will follow. 



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CHAPTER VL 

TXTHEN, at the end of March, 1879, the 
^^ telegram flashed from Cape Town, an- 
nounced to the people of Natal that Prince 
Louis Napoleon had arrived in one of the 
transports, the "Danube," great was the ex- 
citement felt. Intelligence had been received 
at Cape Town of his coming only a short time 
before his ship arrived, and Lady Frere at 
Government House had made every prepara- 
tion for his reception. But his stay was a 
short and hurried one, for he arrived late one 
day and left the next. Lady Frere received 
him on the footing of a distinguished foreigner 
travelling, and at once sent out invitations for 
a reception at Government House, which took 
place on the same evening. 

The Prince arrived at Durban on the 31st 



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86 

of March, that is two days after Kambula had 
been fought. His voyage out had been a 
pleasant and merry one. On board, besides 
himself, there were many other " unattached " 
people who were coming out to seek for glory 
and excitement in the Zulu war. There were 
militia men, retired army men, and one or two 
staff officers who had been permitted to come 
out and find employment. These men, who 
were then and afterwards chaffingly known by 
the name of " desperadoes," were so numerous 
that one day on board they formed themselves 
into a regular parade, the Prince inspecting 
them, and very amusing, was the muster, the 
most mild-and-obese-looking appearing in the 
most warlike dress and hung round with the 
most bloodthirsty weapons. The Prince 
Imperial was met at Durban by some staff 
officers then at the base. As far as the work 
inseparable to those busy times at the base of 
operations permitted, every attention was 
shown him by the officers in command there. 
The day after his arrival a mounted orderly 
was placed at his disposal by Major Huskisson, 
commandant at the base, accompanied by 



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whom, lie rode about the town and visited the 
different offices. 

Lord Chelmsford himself was then advancing 
to the relief of Ekowe, and Colonel Bellairs, 
D.A.G.,.was the senior officer at Durban. 

The Prince became the guest of Captain and 
Mrs. Baynton. Captain Baynton is the agent 
of the " Union Line ". This most kind couple, 
whose hospitality to every officer resident at 
Durban was unbounded, occupied Government 
House, a large residence, and there the Prince 
was made, and felt quite at home during his 
stay at Durban. 

He was iirst attached to Major Le Grice's 
battery of artillery, which was encamped at 
Cato's Manor, some two or three miles from 
the town. There they made themselves very 
comfortable, one of the large Indian tents 
which had been sent from Ceylon with the 
57th Regiment, making a capital officers' mess 
tent. The Prince himself was still often seen 
at Mrs. Baynton's, and at the Natal club. 

A personal acquaintance with him only 
increased the interest which naturally attached 
to his peculiar position. He was a most bright 



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and engaging gentleman, and full of life and 
vitality. He not only took a keen interest in 
the Zulu war, but conversed upon and criti- 
cized our movements with much quickness, 
combined with judgment. There was a great 
freshness and gaiety de coeur about him, and 
even in some remarks he evinced a boyishness, 
not perhaps often found now-a-days in one of 
his age. He showed no great content with 
his position in the Artillery, remarking in con- 
versation that the Artillery was from its very 
nature unsatisfactory to serve with, as it gave 
no opportunity for a close personal contact 
with the enemy. Certainly to achieve per- 
sonal distinction was the great object he had 
placed before himself. When at Durban he 
received a most courteous message of welcome 
from His Excellency Sir Bartle Frere, who 
was then in the Transvaal. On the 9th of 
April, Lord Chelmsford arrived from Ekowe, 
after his victory at Gingelhovo. The day 
after he gave the Prince Imperial a position as 
extra A.D.C. on his staff. The dehght of 
Prince Louis on receiving it was immense. 
Whilst at Durban the Prince suffered a good 



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deal from the fever of the place, and thus 
again had to take refuge in the house of Mrs. 
Baynton, where indeed he left his major-domo 
when he finally departed for the front to join 
the head-quarter staflf. At Durban one of his 
horses died. At Pietermaritzburg he was 
again laid up. He left the place towards the 
end of April and proceeded up country, stop- 
ping one night at Ladysmith, where he was 
entertained by the resident magistrate, Mr. 
Moodie.^' 

It appears that when he reached the head- 
quarter staff, he became tired of the rather 
inactive life that an extra A.D.C. would have 
to lead while head-quarters were halting in 
camp, and that, therefore, yielding to his 
urgent wishes, Lord Chelmsford attached him to 
the department of the quarter-master-general. 
Here those opportunities of a closer acquaint- 
ance with the enemy were eagerly seized on 
and much appreciated by him. He was ever 

* The Prince at Ladysmitli stayed at the Eoyal Hotel. 
• The landlord was so charmed with his generosity that he 
declared his intention of naming his house " The Prince 
Imperial ". 



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foremost in the forays and reconnaissances in 
which, to his delight, he was able to take part; 
and it began to be felt, that, unless he was 
more cautious, his life would certainly be at 
some time or other very much endangered, 
beyond even the ordinary risks attending such 
a warfare. 

One day when out oil a reconnaissance with 
Captain Bettington (a brave and experienced 
officer) they were fired on from a kraal At 
once drawing his sword the Prince dashed 
forward, crying " Come along Bettington, come 
along Bettington," and it was all that officer 
could do to repress his inexperienced ardour. 
On another occasion, when on a three days' 
patrol with Colonel Buller and the mounted 
corps of the flying column, some Zulus were 
seen on the top of a hill. The advance was 
ordered to feel their strength, the Prince was 
dashing forward and trying to head the charge 
when he was at once recalled and kept in 
check by the officer in command of the 
advance, thus going with, instead of before, as 
he had intended. The Zulus had, however, 
decamped before they could be got at, the 



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ground was too rough for pursuit, and but a 
few shots were sent after them. 

These two instances serve to show how 
eager and even rash he became in the presence 
of the enemy. The news of the death of the 
Prince fell like a thunderbolt on all ; at first it 
was regarded as one of those reports that so 
often went the rounds. Bit by bit, however, 
it assumed a form: first, one heard how 
Colonel Wood and Buller with their escort had 
met the flying party, then the particulars were 
heard as to the strength of the party with the 
Prince, and lastly the number of killed leaked 
out. Even then people were incredulous, only 
half believing the dreadful tale. The two 
questions first asked were, what will they say 
at home? and secondly — ^the poor Empress. 
AU was the wildest excitement, brave men 
absolutely broke down under the blow. To 
them it looked a black and bitter disgrace. 
The chivabous young Prince repa3dng the hos- 
pitality shown him by England, with his 
sword — entrusted to us by a widowed mother 
— ^to have been killed on a mere paltry recon- 
naissance — to have fallen without all his escort 



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being first killed 1 — ^to lie there dead and — 
alone! Many there were who would have 
given up life to have been lying dead with 
him, so that our English honour might have 
been kept sacred. This was not to be, how- 
ever ; destiny, a power which has made itself 
so mysteriously felt in the history of his House 
had willed it otherwise. 

Still the fact was borne in mind that none 
had seen the body, that none had seen a death- 
blow struck, so there might be hope, however 
great were the grounds for despair. Those 
who knew the proud high spirit of the Prince, 
knew what must have occurred; they felt 
that, no matter what were the odds against 
him, he would go down with his face to the 
foe, and selling his life dearly. 

There was little sleep in camp that night, 
and long after "Kghts out" went, men w^ere 
grouped together talking of the disaster. It 
was said how in after years, when the whole 
of the Zulu War would be written in a line of 
history, when to all but the student it would 
be a forgotten episode, this would still be re- 
membered. Then it was said how foreigners 



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could taunt us on our care of the young knight 
who had put himself into our hands. All that 
night the body of the dead Prince lay alone 
under the dew and frost of an African moon. 
In the earliest daylight the strong advance 
guard went out to seek for the remains. A 
long ride over rough ground, brought us to a 
sort of pass in the rocky range of small hills 
that lay around a large plain. Keeping along 
the slope of these we rode on, having all the 
time the kraal in sight where the tragedy had 
. been enacted. At last we came to it : — where 
from the rugged tops of the small hills the land 
sweeps gently down to the Itylezi Eiver, the 
kraal stands ; it is of moderate size, and with 
the usual stone wall encircling the cattle en- 
closure which is in its midst. It is surrounded 
on all sides by mealie fields, and with between 
these there grows the long coarse grass of the 
country, some three or four feet in height. 
The kraals are cut ofi' on the southern side by 
these same rugged hills, on the east by the 
Itylezi River, lying some few hundred yards 
off. It is a treacherous river, full of quicksands. 
On the north, at a distance of three hundred 



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yards, there is a deep gorge, or "donga," 
whilst on the west there are some smaller 
dongas. In fact, the whole place was like a 
trap. Once across the deep donga there is a 
good galloping gromid, with short grass, where 
mounted men would run no danger of being 
surrounded. 

The Prince with his party seem, after having 
«,rrived at this kraal, at once to have off- 
saddled, and proceeded to the work of sketching 
the country to be travelled over, and verifying 
their previous observations. Their horses were 
turned out into the mealie fields without a 
guard ; the party knew they would not stray 
while they had plenty of food so close at hand. 
The wonder is the Zulus did not drive off the 
horses and then attack the riders. They pro- 
bably knew that the disparity of numbers was 
not great enough to admit of their attacking 
without the advantage of a surprise. 

No vedettes seem to have been posted, nor 
a single precaution taken to avoid a surprise ; 
even when the Native who was with the party 
told them he saw a Zulu in the valley and 
coming towards them, no special alteration 



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seems to have taken place in their arrange- 
ments. 

The party consisted, besides the Prince, of 
six white Colonial troopers, one infantry officer, 
and a friendly native. The Prince had brought 
his dog with him, and there were also a couple 
of spare horses. 

The observations having been made and 
lunch finished, nothing remained but to saddle 
up and get homewards. The order to bring in 
the horses was given, and they were then 
saddled and bridled. The orders were given : 
*' Stand to your horses " ; " Prepare to mount " ; 
and just as the final order "Mount" came, 
there flashes all round from the mealie gardens 
the hurried volley. None were hit, but aU 
were taken by surprise, and the harm was done. 
Then came the swift rush with furious and 
demoniacal yells : no time was there to unsling 
carbines and mount and load. The enemy 
were, in one rush, upon them. All self-control 
was lost ; it was a general stampede. When 
one horse broke away, the others were impatient 
to follow. The Prince's horse, most probably 
fretting at the movement of the others, moved 



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after them, the Prince vainly endeavouring to 
mount. It is more than probable that he was 
half carried, half ran by his horse for some 
hundred yards towards the deep donga on the 
north, when the increased strain broke the 
holster-straps that goes over the pommel of the 
saddle. His last hold on life broke with that 
piece of worthless leather. In the meantime, 
one of the men, hampered with a spare horse, 
and his own falling under him, had been killed 
at once, and his body lay not five yards from 
that of his horse. The other. Trooper Abel, 
was most probably also unable to get on his 
horse, and was killed in the same donga as was 
the Prince. Ere the Prince lost hold of his 
horse, a trooper, a Frenchman, La Touche by 
name, dashed by him. La Touche had 
mounted at the voUey, and in hurriedly doing 
so had dropped his carbine, and thus nearly 
lost his life. For he jumped off and regained 
it, and his horse moved on ere he could re- 
mount. La Touche, however, managed to fling 
himself on, and with the reins in one hand and 
the carbine in the other, and lying on his breast 
on the saddle, was carried past the Prince, to 



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whom, in passing, he cried in French, " Haste, 
sir, there is no time to lose " ! The Prince, 
his horse having broken from him, now appears 
to have run towards the donga on the north, 
probably with the hope that some of them 
might pick him up behind them, or rally on the 
other side of the donga ; having broken through 
the circle of enemies he may have thought that 
his own party could catch his horse and he 
would be enabled to mount on the other side. 
There is but little doubt that could a stand 
have been made on the other side, a few car- 
bine shots might have arrested the pursuit. 
All were too scattered for that however. To 
the edge of this donga he reached, when finding 
that escape was impossible and rescue hopeless, 
and disdaining to fly further, he seems to have 
turned on the end of a spit of land which ran 
into the deep donga, and was protected on 
either side by smaller dongas running into the 
large one. 

It is more than probable that his pursuers 
were close after him, though some may have 
been engaged with the two men who were 
killed between him and the kraal. Here he 



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may have made a stand for a moment or two, 
till pierced with an assegai, either thrust or 
thrown, he staggered back into the smaller 
donga on his right, in which his body was 
found. Then his destroyers jumping down 
after him, pierced him with those eighteen 
assegai wounds which were found on him. 
The stab through the right eye must have 
caused instantaneous death; most of the 
others were flesh wounds only. The Native 
who was with them broke through the circle of 
foes, but was overtaken and killed some dis- 
tance off by his swift pursuers. The broken 
relics of the party continued their course till 
they reached Colonels Wood and Buller, who 
were out some little distance in front of the 
Flying column. The results of search for 
the fallen were as follows : — On arriving at the 
kraal after skirmishing through the long grass 
and mealie fields, the first body found was 
that of Trooper Abel, who lay dead, riddled 
with assegai wounds, and with the usual Zulu 
coup de grace^ given with more than ordinary 

* This mark, inflicted on the bodies of the slain, con- 
sists of a gash in the stomach. It is given, it is believed, 
from superstitious motives. 



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vigour ; some yards to his front lay his horse, 
not yet dead, though unable to rise or do more 
than move his head and forequarters, thus the 
incarnate fiends had left him in his agony, the 
earth all torn with his ineflfectual struggles to 
rise. To the left of this was the body of 
Kogers, the other trooper ; it was in a donga, 
and grim was its aspect as it stood propped 
up against a bank, glaring into space with 
open eyes that had a ghastly horror in 
them; he too was pierced with wounds and 
had received the coup de grace. Amongst 
those who were taking part in the search, was 
Lieutenant Dundonald Cochrane, of the 32nd 
Regiment (then in command of the Basutos). 
He it was who first discovered the body. We, 
riding down the edge of the same donga, saw 
Lieutenant Cochrane on exactly the opposite 
side, and noticed him stop suddenly and then 
reverently take off his hat. The body lay 
between us. Looking down we knew that all 
our vague hopes were gone, for in the donga 
below lay the last remains of him who but one 
day before had been so fall of life and bright- 
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chain with some charms hung round the neck, 
and onp stocking was on the right foot. The 
aspect was that of the very gentlest repose, 
and the face was smiling and peaceful as in 
sleep. Something of dignity in the look of 
the dead body must have shown the Zulus, 
ferocious and uncivilised though they be, that 
no common foe had been struck down by them. 
The dress was the same they had seen on other 
officers, too many of whom had fallen by their 
assegais, yet it wa« evident they recognised 
something of superiority in his aspect, for the 
coup de grace was inflicted by the lightest hand. 

But why go on with a narrative that only 
raises the perpetual thought— might he have 
been rescued ? 

A few yards from him lay the body of his 
little white terrier, who at least was faithful, 
and stayed till an assegai laid him dead by his 
master's side. 

Soon there came down to the spot a sad 
group, and all in reverence stood round the 
body of the dead Prince. General Marshall, 
Mr. Forbes, the correspondent, and many 
officers were grouped together. 



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The correspondent of the French " Figaro," 
with the unrestrained passion of his nation, 
threw himself down by the body, weeping and 
wringing his hands in uncontrollable grief. 
The body was placed by officers in a blanket, 
and deposited in an ambulance which had now 
arrived, and taken to the camp of the second 
column, into which it was followed by the 
General and all the officers. 

Nothing further was discovered on close 
examination round the spot where the Prince 
had fallen. Whether he used his revolver will 
probably never be known; most likely he 
used his sword which he loved so well. It 
had been his father's. As far as we could tell 
at the time, the Zulus who killed the Prince 
were a small party to whom the kraal belonged, 
and who were gathering mealies in the neigh- 
bouring fields when the party got to it. The 
Prince's shirt was found the next day in the 
possession of a Zulu woman. She, poor, old, 
and blind, manifested the greatest indiflference 
to the questions which were eagerly put to 
her. 

The body of the Prince was conveyed from 



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the head-quarter camp in an ambulance. On 
arriving near Ladysmith, it remained at the 
beginning of the village, upon the Veldt, 
during the night, a guard furnished by the 
garrison being mounted over it. Here took 
place perhaps the most touching, because the 
most simple, scene in the whole of the long 
progress to the last resting place at Chisel- 
hurst. From a schoolhouse near had come 
out and formed on each side of the road a line 
of black school children. Their harmonium 
had also been carried out ; as the rough ambu- 
lance drew near they commenced singing an 
hymn. There was much of pathos in the 
sound of the sweet sad strain uprising in the 
chill morning air; this entirely spontaneous 
mark of sympathy for the " young chief was 
but one proof of the feeling that aU in the 
colony, whatever their age, colour, position or 
sex, had at the sudden and terrible close of 
that bright young Ufe. And it may be safely 
ajBfirmed that not one dissociated in his mind, 
from the thought of the dead son, the recol- 
lection of the blow awaiting the widowed 
mother. In Ladysmith itself, the body was 



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met by a detachment of the 58th Regiment 
imder Captain Churchill, and some Colonial 
forces.* Lieutenant Alan Hill, 58th, and an 
escort from that regiment escorted it down to 
Pietermaritzburg. At Durban the population 
for thirty miles round attended to witness the 
procession ; six hundred British soldiers under 
Major (now Lieutenant-Colonel) Huskisson 
were under arms. The most striking scene 
was at the point where the military handed 
over the coflSn to the Royal Navy. Captain 
Bradshaw of H.M.S. *Shah,' and Commodore 
Richards had all the blue jackets drawn up 
there. Lieutenant-Colonel Pemberton, 60th 
Rifles preceded him in military charge of the 
body on board H.M.S. 'Orontes'. The poor 
major-domo who was, as before mentioned, 
left behind in Durban, was inconsolable at the 
death of his young master I indeed it was 
feared that even his reason would be affected 
by the shock. He frequently repeated what 
everyone who had known the chivalrous young 

* These forces consisted of the Ladysmith Town Guard 
nnder Captain Eandalls, and fifty armed natives under 
the Resident Magistrate. 



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Prince must have felt to be the simplest truth, 
" My master would never have abandoned one 
of them ". We feel we have strayed from the 
direct course of our narrative in giving these 
details, but so little has been published about 
the life of the Prince Imperial in South Africa 
that we are sure this digression will be 
pardoned. 

On the night' succeeding the discovery of the 
Prince's body, while we were encamped on the 
Itylezi Eiver, one man was wounded in the 
shoulder with an assegai— some Zulu on the 
opposite bank had thrown it at him while he 
was filling his canteen. 



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CHAPTER VII. 

/\N the 4th of June, while on patrol with 
^ Colonel Buller, about 2500 Zulus tried to 
entrap us, but they were discovered in time, 
and their attempt failed. On receipt of this 
intelligence in camp all the horse were ordered 
out, and the laager surrounded with an earth- 
work. This force of the enemy was thought 
to be the advance guard of a larger body. The 
next day at dawn most of the Irregular Horse 
of the flying column were sent out under 
Colonel Buller to reconnoitre in advance. A 
body of Lancers and Dragoons from General 
Newdigate's column following some little time 
later. 

On reaching the place where the ambuscade 
was laid the day previous, a dark mass of Zulus 
were seen in the plain below. They were 



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gathered round some large kraals, which proved 
to be those of Sirayo. 

It was a lovely scene we looked down on 
from the rocky hill where we stood. The 
morning sun had just risen over the hill op- 
posite us, and shone on the river that ran at 
its base. Between the river and the hill was 
a small open plain. The kraals stood in the 
centre of the plain. The sides of the hill was 
seamed and torn with dongas, and clothed with 
mimosa bush. There were some among us 
who had not seen trees for two months. Far 
on the left front rose Inhlazatye, gleaming in 
the morning sun, the great greenstone moun- 
tain beyond which the king's place, our goal, 
lay. On the right rose Ibabanango, which we 
were soon to cross. A swarm of Zulus were 
flitting like bees round the huts below, and we 
could see some waggons, spoil of Isandula, 
close to the kraal. 

We had plenty of time to see this as we rode 
down the gentle slope to the river. 

With Colonel Buller one is not kept long in 
suspense ; the orders were soon given, " Fron- 
tier Light Horse the centre, Baker's Horse the 



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left, and Whalle/s the right". The Zulus, in 
the meantime, had massed and moved oflf in 
companies, and taken up a position in the 
dongas at the foot of the hill. They were 
sheltered also by the thick cover aflforded by 
the bush and grass. Once across the river, we 
advanced at a gallop, firing the kraal, the 
enemy opening fire at once. We rode to within 
three hundred yards of them ; the men dis- 
mounted, and the horses were led some few 
yards out of the hottest of the fire. 

The men took cover in the long grass and 
behind ant-heaps. They fired fairly steadily, 
but the hill side was covered with aloes, which 
looked like men among the smoke, and which 
were often doubtless hit. Colonel BuUer was 
standing on an ant-heap looking through his 
glass, watching the effects of the fire. This con- 
tinued some time, till the enemy, trying to 
outflank us on the right, poured in a volley 
at some eighty yards from the edge of a mealie 
field to which they had crept. The order was 
then given to retire, which was done in good 
order, and the river was recrossed and the men 
drawn up on the other side. A war correspond-* 



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ent, who had been lying under an ant-heap 
and firing away, did not hear the order to 
retire given, so he was left behind, till the 
Colonel told some one to go back and put him 
on his horse. From an accident to his leg 
he was unable to mount, but he was brought 
oflF all safely. 

Apart from the chance of getting hit, the 
scene was pretty in the extreme, to see the 
whole face of the hill dotted with little puffs 
of white smoke. We had eight or ten men 
hit, none mortally, and some fifteen horses 
killed or wounded. The Imperial cavalry had 
meanwhile come on the scene, and by General 
Marshall's order advanced to the attack. It 
was a grand sight, to do one's heart good, to 
see them advancing across the level plain. 
They crossed the river and then moved 
forward over the little plain, the Lancers 
in advance and the King's Dragoon Guards 
in support. They took up nearly the same 
ground as that which we had previously 
occupied. One could not help being sorry 
they were sent there ; it was a mere waste of 
life. The enemy were too strongly posted to 



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have any serious damage done to them. It 
was hopeless to expect cavaby to turn them 
out, and the result must inevitably be a 
retreat. The main object had already bpen 
gained, the enemy having shown their strength. 
The result was the cavalry had to retreat after 
losing one of their best officers, Lieutenant 
Frith, their adjutant; they also had a horse 
or two hit, I believe. They then retired and 
drew up out of sight of the Zulus, behind a 
gentle rise. By this concealment the Zulus 
were to be induced to move out into the plain. 
The cavalry leaders had however yet to find 
that Zulus were not to be duped by so trans- 
parent a ruse, and the sight of half the lances 
with the fluttering pennons which stuck up 
over the brow of the hill too plainly marked 
the position of the (otherwise) wily Lancers. 
Of course, by all the rules of war, the Zulus 
should have been drawn out and then cut up, 
but they are very old-fashioned. Some few 
crept down the rugged bed of the river and 
fixed scattered shot at us. We, the Irregulars, 
in the meantime,, sat and lounged about, the 
bait of the trap, but they were too wary. To 



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the voice of the charmer, English Cavalry 
General though he was, they would not listen. 

Soon the order was given to return home, 
which was some couple or three miles off, the 
column having advanced a few miles since we 
left. 

In the Itylezi River close to where the body 
of the Prince had been discovered, gold was 
panned out by a trooper, an old Califomian 
miner, whether in paying quantities we cannot 
say. We believe it is seldom in South African 
gold digging that gold can be got in river 
beds. Specimens of quartz sent down to be 
analysed to a first-rate engineer in the colony, 
showed indications, and paying ones, of gold. 
The whole country round this district is with- 
out doubt auriferous. The question is how 
much return for labour. 

On the 6th or 7th of June we were roused 
some half hour or so after " lights out " by the 
sound of big guns from General Newdigate's 
column. This column was encamped some 
few miles to the rear of ours, at a place known 
afterwards as "Fort Funk". An officer was 
sent over and came back with accounts of the 



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scare. It appears an alarm took place, the 
men hurried to their stations in the laager, 
leaving their tents standing. Then one fired, 
now another, and at last the firing ran all 
down the line utterly beyond the power of the 
officers to stop. The big guns joined in and 
increased the tumult. The firing gradually 
died out all down the line. The next business 
was to inspect the damage. The sight was 
ifu>t particularly edifying, tents riddled, clothes 
in a similar condition, oxen shot, and their 
drivers frightened to death. We were much 
rejoiced to find that the only troops who had 
not shared in the panic were those under 
Major Chard, V.C., a portion of our column, 
who had gone to assist in making a fort in 
front of the laager. The fort was luckily far 
enough advanced in building to afford shelter 
against the fire of the laager, not only for the 
engineers, but also for the picket who fortun- 
ately took refuge there. The stones in the 
fort embankment showed abundant traces of 
the fire, most of the stones were marked by 
bullets, one had received four hits. A sergeant 
was shot on the spot, and only lived a few 



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112 

days. I do not know if any other casuaKties 
occurred. 

It was then decided by Lord Chelmsford 
that Wood's column should go back to their 
base — ^Utrecht — ^and bring in all the supplies 
from that place. Most of the mounted troops 
with Colonel Buller joined General Newdi- 
gate's column. This was the 7th June. The 
same night the laager was formed close to 
where the skirmish of the 5th took place. A 
few shots of the big guns were fired at some 
of the enemy who were hanging about the 
kraals. The waggons that were by the kraals 
were also discovered and used. On the next 
morning some infantry skirmished through 
the bush but did not see any trace of the 
enemy. 

One of our ofl&cers had a servant, an old 
Colony black, who went by the name of Ketch- 
wayo, who, on our arrival in camp, bolted oflF, 
as they always did, to get wood. While en- 
gaged in pulling a kraal to pieces, some 
regulars who were being sent out as cattle 
guards saw him, they immediately gave chase 
to him and collared him. The poor fellow 



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was most fearfully frightened, and when asked 
his name could only gasp out " Ketchwayo ". 
" Oh, you are the very fellow we want," and so 
poor Ketchwayo was marched oS in high 
triumph. The men were fearfully sold when the 
truth came out that he was only Captain 
D'Arcy's servant and not the King of the Zulus. 

We found the arrangements of Newdigate's 
column were not nearly so perfect as those of 
our own column, and most ardently we looked 
for its return. Every day some story about 
peace went the rounds of the camp ; ambas- 
sadors of more or less dubious respectability 
kept coming in. All this we heard with a sore 
heart, for a great longing to avenge the death 
of the poor Prince was in us. All would have 
thought it a disgrace had not an opportunity 
to wipe out that terrible stain on our escut- 
cheon been vouchsafed us. 

Colonel Buller still continued to carry on 
his patrols, and we were employed mending 
drifts to facilitate the return of Wood's 
column. 

On the 13th June, the Zulus were reported 
to be in force some few miles off, which proved 



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a false report, for a patrol sent out to look 
them up could discover nothing. On this 
patrol we saw a completely new hut built 
where some had been burnt a few days pre- 
viously. 

A small patrol under the Colonel exchanged 
shots about this time with a few Zulus, and 
shot two of them, and had a long chase after 
two mounted men. 

There were large maize and Kafl&r cornfields 
near, which gave our horses more grain than 
they had had for some time. There were also 
small patches of KaflSr beans, a sort of earth 
nut, so on them we fared sumptuously. 

On the hill behind the camp were two old 
Zulu women, the ugliest hags ever seen. They 
expressed no surprise when they saw us, but 
sat at the door of their huts blinking in the 
sun. When we brought them water and food 
they gave no thanks, but mumbled at the hard 
biscuit with their toothless jaws. Evidently 
their friends stole down in the night and fed 
them, as we found the water jugs or gourds 
replenished on the next day, and the old ladies 
were too weak to walk. 



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On the 14tli June we left on a patrol with 
Colonel Buller for a mountain, some thirty- 
five miles oflf called Intabankulu, where there 
was a great herd of cattle reported. We 
travelled all day and into the night, seeing 
nothing, and finally encamped on the banks of 
Umvelosi River. The Colonel always made a 
point of encamping in the dark, and invari- 
ably moved a few miles after sundown. The 
enemy then never knew where we were at 
night, so could not surround and attack us. 
The most perfect silence was always strictly 
enjoined. The horses were put in rings of 
some thirty or so each, fastened to each other, 
the men slept at their heads in a circle. 
Sentries paced round the rings all night to see 
that no horse broke loose. One blanket only 
was carried, and the nights were most bitterly 
cold. The guards had to be visited hourly, 
and the vedettes also looked to. Smoking was 
always stopped, as the glare of the matches 
would have pointed out our position to the 
enemy. About two in the morning the men 
were roused, and silently loosed the horses and 
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night when on patroL Then came the work 
of counting and whispering over the roll call. 
All was done in most perfect quiet. The 
orders, short and to the point, were given in a 
low tone to the men. In that rarified atmos- 
phere sound is heard at an incredible distance. 
Then comes the word to advance, and in 
pitchy darkness the broad river is forded, the 
horses slipping like cats down the steep banks, 
then scrambling up the equally steep banks on 
the further shore. 

Still in silence we follow our leader through 
the pathless waste, to ride safely over which 
at a gallop in the light is no trivial matter. 
After six or seven miles of this sort of thing, 
we reach our destination ; orders are given : 
to every troop is explained their object and 
duty in a terse sense or two, and then, just in 
the greyest dawn, we quicken to a canter, each 
troop diverges to its goal, and the scene, one 
moment before so silent, re-echoes to the hol- 
low sounds of the hoofs of four hundred horse. 
The object of our present attack is a mountain, 
rising squarely out of a broad plain, rocky and 
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of the enemy, and at this early hour their 
fires gleam through the darkness and are our 
beacons in the advance. Two troops swing 
round the hiU in rear some climb the right, 
some the left face, while others dash straight on 
to the assigned post. The enemy, thoroughly 
surprised, swarm out of their kraals, some 
reach the cliffs and keep up a dropping fire on 
the assailants. The hill re-echoes to the sound 
of rifle shots as the caves among the rocks 
are searched one after the other. If they do 
not resist they are taken prisoners. One man 
camei to the mouth of a cave, and fired point 
blank at Captain and Commandant Baker ; he 
luckily missed, and the Captain promptly shot 
him. The shot hit the Zulu in the forehead, 
the distance being not six yards, yet, such is 
the extraordinary thickness of the skull, that 
the bullet flattened out on it. The enemy, in 
some cases, were so completely taken by sur- 
prise, that on coming to the mouth of the 
cave and presenting to fire, they had not 
taken out the little plug of newspaper that 
they keep in the muzzle to keep out wet. 
In fact, they are totally bewildered, and do 



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not gather together in force enough to make a 
serious resistance. Some seven hundred cattle 
were captured, a herd of goats and sheep, and 
about forty prisoners. Many more prisoners 
might have been taken, but they would only 
have been incumbrances. By this time the 
alarm had been spread all round, and the 
neighbouring hills had become dotted with 
the gathering enemy. The cattle are rapidly 
collected by us and driven oflf. The main 
object of the patrol — ^harrassing the enemy — 
eflfected, we move away. The Zulus now col- 
lected, though yelling with impotent fury, 
dare not venture into the plain, and we march 
uupursued on our return journey. But look 
at the men driving the cattle : they are 
prisoners, taken just now on the hill, who by 
a cruel irony of fate are compelled to drive 
the cattle but an hour ago their own. A few 
women-prisoners accompany our march : it 
would not do to let these go as yet. They 
are accordingly brought on to where we halt 
for breakfast. We halt near the place we 
encamped at the previous night. The horses, 
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The guards are mounted and vedettes posted 
on the rising ground. The men disperse for 
water and fuel, (the latter they get from the 
kraals,) others turn out the haversacks and 
make coflfee. The provisions taken on the 
patrol are coffee, sugar, and biscuit, fresh beef 
for two days and preserved for the third. The 
coflfee is made in " billys," like those Australian 
diggers have, these hang in a neat leather case 
by the side of the saddle. The women-prisoners 
are very happy indeed, though they don't 
know how long we shall retain them. They 
are only exchanging one life of slavery for 
another as they think, and they may have 
heard that Englishmen do not force their 
wives to work. One good-looking damsel, 
with a leopard skin on her shoulders, in reply 
to some chaflF about marriage, evinces an 
astuteness which we did not expect to see in 
a child of nature. On our humbly asking for 
her dusky hand, she enquires if we shall make 
her work in the fields ? on learning that it is 
not our intention to make her hoe mealies, she 
wants to know if we are an inkose (chief). 
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she learns that he is an inkose inkulu (great 
chief), and promptly discards her first adorer, 
ourselves, to our huge disgust. The captive 
seems, indeed, to have a great idea of her own 
attractions, for after this affront to us, she 
tries to make it up at breakfast, and gets some 
coffee, meat, and biscuit. Very vexed is she 
when she finds there is no sugar in her coffee, 
and she soon rectifies the omission. Some of 
the sheep which are hardly able to travel as 
far as the camp, are killed and slung on the 
spare horses. Some little want of discrimina- 
tion as to the choice parts of the animal and 
the manner of eating, lowers our captive in 
our eyes. 

The horses are now brought in and saddled 
up, the prisoners (female) are sent back with 
a message to the king. She of the leopard 
skin weeps piteously and begs hard to come 
with us : she was fully persuaded that inkose 
inkulu was going to make her his bride and 
carry her off. Poor girl I her rose-coloured 
visions are dissipated, and no doubt the old and 
ill-favoured hag she is with will avenge their 
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rather consequential airs on the strength of 
her conquest. Henceforth she can look for- 
ward to 'nothing better than being sold as a 
slave to the man whom she, in company with 
some dozen or so fellow-slaves, have to call 
husband. The Zulus are a light-hearted race, 
4nd we hope she will soon recover, and live 
happily ever afterwards. One thing in this 
war reflects credit on us all — no woman was 
wantonly injured, and the wildest Irregular 
must treat them fairly. There was an attack 
in " Truth " some time ago on the subject of 
atrocities by the Irregulars. It was not worth 
one's while to contradict the statement, so I 
suppose no one cared to, but it was utterly 
false. 

All day we ride on, and reach <5amp at ten 
P.M., travelling the last four hours in darkness, 
riding down almost precipitous dongas, fording 
rivers, and stumbling over ant-heaps and into 
ant-bear holes. It would horrify a Leicester- 
shire man to travel in the day the ground we 
do at night. All our cattle get safe to camp, 
and we soon discuss the lambs we captured in 
the morning. 



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On the 17th June we rejoin Wood's column, 
to our huge delight. The arrangements in 
the head-quarter column were by no means so 
good as our own, spite of the abundance of 
staff officers. The men were harrassed by- 
being kept under arms an indefinite period in 
the morning. False alarms were given, and 
the horses did not get either the grain or the 
care that they did in our own column. General 
Wood had made his march in an incredibly 
short space of time ; he was evidently resolved 
to make no unnecessary delay. 

We were anxiously expecting various stores 
to eke out our meagre allowance, but the 
General would carry no unnecessary lumber, so 
they were left behind, and what became of 
them we know not. 

We must be left in this uncomfortable posi- 
tion, till our next brings us to more stirring 
scenes. 



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CHAPTER VIII. 

T)Y this time the Irregular corps of the 
^^ Flying column had been brought to their 
best form. Long months of anxious work on 
the part of Colonel Buller and the ofl&cers 
under him, had resulted in the formation of a 
regiment the most fitted for rough work yet 
seen in Africa. The materials that the Colonel 
had to work on were of all sorts. The Ir- 
regulars always reminded me of that verse, 
" Parthians and Medes, Elamites and Persians,'' 
&c., comprising as they did men of all nations. 
My own corps included the following national- 
ities; English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, French, 
Prussians, Danes, Swedes, Austrians, Nor- 
wegians, Italians, Spanish, Australians, Rus- 
sians, Jews of all nations, Poles, Hungarians, 



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AMcanders (English bom in Africa), Boers, 
and Americans. Surely a mixed lot to weld 
as they were into a perfect whole. I started, 
as I said before, thoroughly prejudiced against 
volunteers, but am bound to admit that they 
did good work and service. Of these nations, 
Danes made the best and Americanized Irish 
the worst soldiers. As Archibald Forbes truly 
says, they were men of varied antecedents. 
Discharged soldiers and 'Varsity men, un- 
frocked clergyman and sailor, cockney and coun- 
tryman, cashiered oflficers of army and navy 
here rubbed shoulders. Of course, when newly 
raised, these corps were for a time utterly use- 
less. The long march up the country consoli- 
dated, and the heavy work weeded out the less 
strong. As everywhere the weaker went to 
the wall, succumbed to the climate ; fever and 
dysentery, ague and rheumatism thinned out 
the weakly. Coming from the sweltering heat 
of the plains to the cold frosty nights of the 
uplands ; heated with the dusty march by the 
slow-moving waggons ; drenched with the fre- 
quent thunder-storms, then frozen, it will not 
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fore, by the time they reached the column tho- 
roughly hardened and seasoned, and as men of 
ruined fortunes are proverbially reckless of life> 
they were well suited for the work before them. 

It may not be out of place to give a sketch 
of the various Irregular regiments. 

First of all came the oldest Irregular corps,, 
the Frontier Light Horse, about two hundred 
strong. This corps was raised for the old 
colony war by Lieutenant, now Major Carring- 
ton, 1-1 2th Regiment, and was then known as. 
Carrington's Horse ; it served with distinction 
through the Gaika and Galeka campaigns. 
It bore itself always with courage, and had 
more esprit de corps than the other corps* 
After Carrington left it was commanded by 
Captain Whalley and then by Colonel Buller ; 
under both it served through the first campaign 
of England against Secocoeni. It has been 
always well oflficered, and in that had a marked 
advantage over the other corps. It has been 
oflficered by. such men as Colonel Buller, Major 
Carrington (l-24th), Captain MacNaughten 
(kiUed in Perie bush), Whalley ( 17th Lancers), 
Barton (Coldstream Guards, kiUed at Zlobane), 



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Prior (SOth Regiment), Brunker (26th), Baron 
von Stitencron (Austrian Hussars, killed at 
Zlobane), and many others. It is now under 
the command of Commandant Cecil D'Arcy, 
V.C, who has risen to distinction and gained 
his V.C. in it.* Since disbanded. 

" Baker's Horse " was originally raised by 
Captain now Major F. J. Baker, Ceylon Rifles, 
an officer who has served through the various 
African wars and in Borneo. It served through 
the latter part of the old colony war under 
that officer. Their Adjutant at that time was 
Lieutenant Dalrymple, now A.D.C. to Sir 
Bartle Frere. After the quelling of the 
rebellion, and the flight of Kreli and death of 
SandiUi, this corps was sent to garrison Kok- 
stadt. The Pondas were supposed to be about 
to rise, but were checked by the prompt measures 
taken. After this the regiment marched through 
Natal and disbanded at Port Elizabeth. A 
few days afterwards Captain Baker got a tele- 
gram from Lord Chelmsford to raise men. 
This was done with incredible celerity, and 
in a short space some two hundred and forty 
* Reported killed before Pretoria, Jan., 1881. 



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men sailed from Port Elizabeth. At Zlobane 
this corps suflfered in common with the other 
Irregulars. Nevertheless, in spite of many- 
other services during the remainder of the 
war, we believe Captain Baker has received 
no acknowledgement for his services, though 
his were the first reinforcements to enter Natal 
after Isandula. 

The third force was Eaafe's Eangers, and a 
more forbidding lot of mixed Hottentots and 
scum of the Diamond Fields was never col- 
lected together outside a prison wall. 

Then came the Natal Light Horse under 
Captain Watt Whalley, an oflficer who had seen 
more service than falls to the lot of most men. 
His services include the Mutiny (wounded), 
China, and Abysinnia. He also served in the 
Papal Zouaves, and accompanied that regiment 
to France, serving in the Franco-Prussian war, 
dangerously wounded at M^ziferes and taken 
prisoner. Then through the Carlist war com- 
manding a regiment under Don Carlos. In 
Africa the Gaika, Galeka (wounded), Secocoeni 
and Zulu campaigns. Of course, with such a com- 
manding ofiicer a regiment must be a good one. 



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The Basutos (100) were Native Irregulars, 
under Captain Cochrane, 32nd. This force was 
at Isandula, and through their knowledge of 
Kaffir warfare, they managed to extricate 
themselves with slight loss, though often hand 
to hand. As scouts they were invaluable. 
They were courageous, and possessed the merit 
of being cheap, finding their own horses and 
getting £3 per month. These ponies were 
hardy little brutes, in fact they seemed to be 
untirable, for let the day be ever so long at 
the end they were fresh. The Basutos were 
all Christians, many a time have we turned 
out and listened to them singing their hymns 
after reveille. Their voices are good and 
knowledge of time perfect. 

The Mounted Infantry can hardly be called 
Irregulars, they were grooms, and other men 
picked from the various regiments. Their 
uniform was a red coat, more or less tattered, 
trousers and leggings ditto, with a battered 
helmet. They looked like a cross between a 
groom out of place and a soldier after a night 
in ceUs and a big drink. They have been com- 
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12th Lancers, and latterly by Captain Brown, 
V.C, l-24tli, a most excellent oflficer. Their 
other officers were Lieutenants Davis (Buffs), 
Walsh, 1-1 3th, Hutchinson, 4th King's Own. 
This sort of cavalry will be the force of the 
future for Africa, as they are as good as any 
others and far cheaper. 

The mounted corps of Colonel Weatheley, 
which was annihilated at Zlobane, were raised 
under Captain Denison, one of the survivors, 
but never again joined the Flying column. 

The Kaffrarian Eiflemen were the relics of 
the old Crimean German Legion, which was 
allotted lands at the Cape in 1856. They 
were raised under Commandant Schembrucker, 
one of their old officers. This corps left the 
column in April, and remained in the Trans- 
vaal. Some of their officers were officers now 
serving in the Prussian army. 

Just at this time a journey to the field of 
Isandula was made by a large party, their 
report was that the site of the camp was very 
badly chosen. We rather expected to find the 
bodies lying in square, as the earlier reports of 
the battle had led one to suspect. The reverse. 



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however, was the case, and this showed the 
ammunition had been exhausted. The terrible 
slaughter seems to have occurred when the 
retrogade move was made to the waggons. 
The first part of the battle had been fought 
some distance from the camp. The slaughter 
of Zulus must have been immense. Their 
own story shows this to have been the bloodiest 
battle of the war save Kambula. Long after 
we found many people suflfering from the fear- 
ful wounds there received. By no meaM the 
best section of the Zulu nation seem to have 
been there engaged. Though the King's 
guards, as we may say, fought, still the bold 
robber tribes of Umbeline, from the rocky 
mountain strongholds, were not there. The 
regiments seem to have been drawn from the 
south-eastern portion of the country, from the 
bush region and the border land. When we 
consider the three battles of January 22nd 
and 24th — Isandula, Ineyzane, and Zlobane, 
we can arrive at some idea of the inmiense 
power of the Zulu nation at the commence- 
ment of the war. Pearson at Ineyzane 
opposes, he thinks 11,000 ; on the same day, 



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25,000 are said to overwhelm Dumsford, and 
retired before Lord Chehnsford; while two 
days later, Wood defeats 12,000 at Zlobane. 
The distances between the places indicated, 
make it impossible that a single man could 
have fought at any two of these actions: 
Ketchwayo had a large reserve at Ulundi, so 
the total fighting strength of the nation must 
have been some 50,000 at least. The battle 
field was strewn with papers, some of them 
doubtless of importance, nor was it till long 
after that these were collected and burned. 
The different condition of the bodies was most 
remarkable, some were by the heat of the sun 
completely mumified, in others the ordinary 
process of decomposition had taken place; 
The fact that vedette duty prevented a close 
examination of the field, must be the apology 
for so poor an account of the visit. 

On the 19th of June our corps' turn for 
advance guard fell. The two columns were 
this time marching nearly together, that is. 
General Wood's column was sometimes fire 
nriles ahead of General Newdigate's, at others 
it would be encamped on the other side of the 



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same river. On this morning we left camp^ 
some hours before dawn, and thoroughly ex- 
amined the ground along which the column 
would pass. Then brealdng off into two 
detachments, one party turned off to examine 
the hills on the right of the line of march, 
the others, those to the left. We went to the 
right. After some time a few Zulus were seen 
leaving some kraals. They allowed us to get 
within shot, when delivering a volley, they 
disappeared over the crest of the hill. Long 
before we climb its steep sides they were out 
of shot. On reaching the top, we see a large 
tract of prairie-like land, stretching for some 
distance. This plateau is covered with luxuri- 
ant yet sweet grass. The edges of this plateau 
fall away into deep valleys, which in their 
turn, are broken by rugged hills. Skirting 
the edge of the tableland for sometime, we 
espy a large herd of cattle in the deep gorges, 
some miles below us. A number of people 
were driving them across a river, which twined 
and twisted about below. Something in their 
gait told our leader. Commandant Baker, that 
these cattle were only a bait. Orders were 



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accordingly given not descend to capture them. 
Lucky it was that this was done, as the sequel 
shows. Some of the Zulus below were in 
shot. We rode to the spur of the ridge, just 
where it dipped down suddenly into the vaUey 
beneath, then opened fire. No sooner had we 
done so, than a volley was fired from a knoll, 
some 200 yards off on our right. An ofl&cer 
was sent with some twenty-five men to dis- 
lodge them. This he did by getting on 
another spur that overlooked them, and thus 
outflanking them. Both of our little bodies 
now opened fire on the stragglers in the plain 
below, at some 600 yards. The enemy made 
for a donga a little nearer to us, we then fired 
into the donga at anyone showing themselves. 
About 300 of the Zulus were then seen to 
leave the further end of this ravine, and steal 
down the bed of the river, so that by making 
a detour of some two miles they could com- 
pletely cut us off. Our fire was so galling to 
those in the donga, that not being able to 
return it effectually they bolted in large num- 
bers from it. They then made a charge for- 
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but were repulsed^ and retired leaving some 
thirty dead lying about the plain. The body 
©f the enemy, who were all this time trying 
to outflank us, had in the meantime crept 
nearly round the base of the hill, along the 
bed of the river which wound round it. Our 
commander called us ofl", having captured 
some few cows and a good flock of sheep. 
These we drove oflF, and though our friends 
followed us, and occasionally fired> yet they 
did not venture to leave the edge of the 
broken ground Their intention had been to 
lure our small force into the plain and pounce 
on us from their hiding place. In that case 
probably not a man would have escaped. 
This little brush is given as a type of what 
was constantly occurring. In the face of much 
superior numbers, our small force of fifty men 
had inflicted a loss of about forty on them. 
Their numbers were about 700. The party 
which had early in the day gone to the left, 
had exchanged shots with an enemy posted 
in an inaccessible kloof. 

On the 21st of June we were encamped on 
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day now more Zulus were seen, and small 
skirmishes took place daily. The enemy made 
many and determined attempts, to bum up 
the grass along the line of march. It required 
all our vigilance to prevent them doing so. 
The grass was dry as tinder and caught at 
once. Every day a broad strip was cut round 
the camp, so that we should not be burned 
out. Sometimes the enemy would bum a 
huge strip in our teeth, small bodies used to 
appear incessantly, fire a patch and then be off. 
Every night we lay among the black ashes. 

We had been for several days in sight of 
what was supposed to be Ulundi. Our route 
lay along the top of a chain of hills, the 
valleys on our left ftdl of bush. The first 
sight of Ulundi was glorious, the goal we had 
so long and ardently desired was in sight at 
last. That mysterious king's place of which 
traders had given such extravagant accounts. 
Truly the scene we gazed on was pleasant. 
For days we had travelled over rough Ibaba- 
nango through a treeless country. Here we 
look at from our ridge a long valley some 
thirty miles long, bounded by hills. The 



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valley itself was covered with brushwood. 
The broad Umvelosi swept across it in the 
distance. Many huge kraals were in it each 
containing thousands of huts ; these were the 
barracks to the army. Afar oflF was a large 
circular enclosure which was pointed out as 
the king's kraal. Two soldiers of the 13th 
testified their delight by falling out, and 
milling each other with right good will, in the 
exuberance of their delight. 

At this time we passed the road where 
Crealock's Column were supposed to have 
advanced by. Long and anxiously did we 
scan the country in this direction. Many 
were the fears lest he should be before us, and 
snatch the laurels we thought our due. Joy- 
ful were we when no trace of him could we 
see. It would have made us easier if we had 
known that he, with his strong army corps 
were encamped in a marsh near a weU nigh 
impracticable landing place. 

A day or two later we descended into the 
valley to destroy three large military kraals. 
All expected hot work. We rode down among 
the bushes. On the heights above were some 



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guns escorted by Lancers. Advancing through 
the difl&cult ground, we burned without op- 
position the large kraals we found. These 
consisted in two cases of some 2500 huts each. 
The third was somewhat smaller. Many relics 
of Isandula were found in these barracks, 
baths, buckets, water canteens, cooking pots, 
and many other things. In one hut we found 
a hymn book (ancient and modem with music), 
in several, Eoman Catholic prints of saints 
were seen. Small bodies of the enemy were 
seen, and a partial skirmish took place, some 
seven of the enemy were kiUed. A compact 
•column of some 2000 Zulus were seen advanc- 
ing by the gunners on the hill. The guns 
opened fire, and the first two shells pitched 
right in front of them, and burst. Seeing we 
were so well supported, they retired. We 
were not sorry as the ground was bad for 
-cavalry, and the enemy knew the ground 
better than we did. The hills were then 
<5limbed and we returned home. The air in 
these valleys was hot and fragrant, like a con- 
aervatory at home, as we got up the hills 
again it changed to the bracing atmosphere of 



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the uplands. A day or two later some ambas- 
sadors from the king, bearing two huge tusks 
of ivory, were met and brought in. One of 
these tusks was huge, it took two men to carry 
it The Embassy also brought with them 
some 160 head of cattle, trek oxen, captured 
at Isandula. Their sleek and well fed appear- 
ance contrasted with our thin and travel-worn 
bullocks. The Embassy also expressed the 
king's intention to collect the cattle, captured 
at the up-country fight (Intombi Kiver), and 
send them to the general. The ivory was 
returned, and the cattle kept for some days. 
The ambassadors took back the answer to the 
King's proposals for peace. We do not know 
the King's proposals, but the answer was, we 
believe^ that no proposition could, be enter- 
tained unless 1000 Zulus came in, and gave 
up their arms. No great diplomatic skiU 
seems to have been exercised, aud mayhap it 
were well there was not. 

The sight of the ivory aroused the natural 
desire inherent in every soldier, especially in- 
herent in those of fortune, for plunder. Vague 
stories of the wealth of the King went about. 



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Splendid visions of loot, in the shape of gold 
dust, ivory, ostrich feathers and diamonds, 
filled the soldiers' eyes. Incredible stories of 
the amount of treasure taken at Isandula were 
circulated. We believe the real amount waa 
£300. It is needless to say these golden 
visions were broken, not a man of the Eegulars 
being a sovereign the better for any loot taken. 
Some of the Irregulars got small sums from 
deserted kraals. The amount altogether we 
imagine was small. The men took pains to 
conceal anything they did take, as they were 
afraid of being made to disgorge. 



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CHAPTER IX. 

/\N the 25th we reached Magnumbonium or 
^ Introgeneni, a point 2000 feet above the 
sea level It is nearly at the extreme end of 
the chain of hills, along which we had ad- 
vanced the preceding days. From it the road 
or tract to Ulundi branches off, and finally 
dips down into the lovely valley. From here 
a good view of the veritable Ulundi can be 
seen, the sight we had waited six long months 
for. The delight one felt must have been 
similar to that that animated the Ten Thousand 
at the first sight of the sea. One was almost 
tempted to shout Ulundi 1 Ulundi ! as they 
did Thalassa ! Thalassa ! From the same height 
we could see the sea in the far distance. 

The troops here got two days' rest. Then 
orders were given to leave all sick horses. 



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spare waggons, tents, provisions. A fort was 
made, and aU waggons not intended to go on 
left behind. They were left in charge of 
Major Upcher l-24th, and 500 men. Pro« 
visions were taken for ten days. 

On the morning of June 30th at 6-15, the 
united columns advanced and descended the 
slopes to the plain. The valley was thickly 
studded with aloes, mimosa, and other tropical 
trees. Some eight miles off the Umvelosi 
flashed and shone like a silver thread. The 
river that saw the fight at Kambula was to 
see another at Ulundi. On the descent the 
advanced guard was met by some messengers 
bearing a letter from the King, and the sword 
of the Prince Imperial. Ketchwayo had, at 
the request of Lord Chelmsford, sent for this 
from the hands of the small tribe by whom he 
had been killed. The messengers were detained 
at the outpost, while the letter and sword 
were carried to the General. The sword, easily 
recognizable, by the C3rpher N, was gazed on 
with eager but respectful curiosity by all 
present. It was reported to have belonged to 
the great Napoleon, it certainly belonged to 



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Napoleon III. On the last occasion we had 
seen it, the ill-fated Prince had drawn it, while 
galloping up a hill from the crest of which 
some Zulus were just decamping. He ex- 
pressed an eager desire to blood it. A wish 
too fully fulfilled, as it most probably was in 
those few moments just prior to his death, 
when he had turned to bay. Its cold hilt was 
the last thing that that hand, so soon to be 
<iold as the steel, had clasped. The letter was 
written by a trader named Vejn, it was ad- 
dressed "From Ketchwayo to Lord Chelms- 
ford." On the outside Vejn had, at the peril 
of his life, written " If you come, come strong, 
there are 20,000 of them." A noble warning, 
this generous message, and one that ought to 
be remembered. There were many Zulus 
round the King who knew how to read 
English. If one of these had seen the timely 
warning, death and most probably torture 
would have been the fate of the writer of it. 
What anxious moments his must have been as 
he saw the bearers press through th« crowds of 
Zulus round the royal kraal. 

Continuing our route we get to th« foot of 



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the hills, and fairly into the plain. Here 
laagar is formed, and we camp for the night. 
Newdigate's Division some quarter of a mile 
from us. The water here was very bad and 
scarce, the journey for it long. A little 
generalship on the enemies' part might have 
seriously inconvenienced us in regard of this. 

The orders of that night gave out that the 
irregulars of Wood's column were to leave 
camp at two a.m. the next morning. That 
hour found aU ready, and we set out in the 
inky darkness. For several miles we pass 
along noiselessly. Day breaking finds us in a 
park-like country full of thin bush. Our ride 
ceases on the banks of the Umvelosi, or rather 
just behind the ridge that slopes down to it. 
Here out of sight we halt, dismount and ease 
our horses. The colonel rides out to survey 
the country. From some miles away comes 
the war song of the enemy, rising and falling. 
It is nearly impossible to describe the effect of 
such a mighty volume of sound, rising through 
the quiet air. Very weird and awsome does 
it seem to us, as we wait without seeing the 
singers. It seems they were guarding the ford 



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below. We thought they were advancing, 
and every minute expected to be engaged. 
Our orders were not to fire until we were fired 
on. We believe Lord Chelmsford had given 
Ketchwayo three days* grace, or until the 3rd 
of July, to consider his ultimation. We rode 
on to where the Basutos were posted on the 
ridge, and there looking down on the valley 
we see it filled completely with the enemy. 
They were posted at the two fords just below 
us. During the few moments we stayed with 
the Basutos, we saw two Zulu spies within one 
hundred yards of us. The Basutos were 
frantic with excitement, longing to shoot at 
them. It was certainly tempting, to see them 
creeping through the grass, it was however 
against orders, and Captain Cochrane would 
not allow it. They took a good view and then 
retired, soon to be succeeded by another pair. 
Trotting back, we see the long train of 
^^gg^g^"Waggons descending the slopes in our 
rear, while ahead of them the sun flashes on 
the rifle barrels of the advancing column. A 
wide chain of vedettes are thrown out, com- 
pletely covering the advancing regiments. 



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The weird music still rises from the valley of 
the river, and much marching and counter- 
marching takes place among the enemy. 

All of us had started without breakfast and 
without being able to fill our water canteens, 
our sufferings from thirst, as we sat under the 
burning sun, were something intense. Below 
us rolled the river, broad and cool, rippling 
over its shallow bed. For all the good it was 
to us, it might have been a hundred miles off. 
We could only look at it wistfully, and how 
savage it made us with the foe who guarded it, 
I think the Zulus had resolved to defend the 
fords, but from some unexplained reason aban-^ 
doned that resolution. Soon, about 2 p.m., 
the advance guard reaches us. We all thought 
that we should be ordered to advance and take 
the ford. It is completely commanded by a 
bluff or precipice that rises immediately below 
it. The idea was that Wood's column should 
take this, and the other remain on this side. 
However, this was not done, and at the sight 
of the advance guard the Zulus retire, very 
likely with the intention of luring us forward. 
Lord Chelmsford comes up and reconnoitres the 

10 



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ground. Then the welcome order to take the 
horses to water at the stream is given. How 
good that drink was, and how man and beast 
enjoyed that cool draught 1 The ford ia a good 
one though rather sandy, there is a slight 
incline on the other side under the foot of the 
bluff. The breadth of the river is about 
seventy yards, the water is clear and sparkling, 
the banks at places well wooded The bush 
at a little distance from the stream is not so 
thick, and is mostly mimosa and aloe. It was 
quite like seeing an old friend, seeing the 
Umvelosi On its head waters the column had 
been encamped for months, when the cam- 
paign was paralysed by the disaster of Isandula. 
At its source was fought Kambula, and many 
a time have we crossed it on different occa- 
sions since. A troop had galloped on to secure 
the bluff, and had abeady occupied it, when 
they were recalled by Lord Chelmsford. A 
sharp passage of arms occurred here between 
Colonel Btiller and a special correspondent. 
We fancy the latter got the worst of it, for he 
complained to the General, who, however, had 



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other things to do than to rectify the wounded 
feelings of the hero in question. 

The column encamped that night on the 
slope towards the river, and were for the re- 
mainder of the day engaged in clearing the 
bush round the camp; the spare wood was 
made into an " abattis " which ran outside the 
laager. Newdigate's division was higher up 
the slope to the rear. The night was spent in 
peace. 

The next day we all turned out and went 
and had a good bathe in the clear river. 
Towards midday we took the horses down to 
water at the ford. There we found a picket ; 
there were many men bathing all about. Just 
as we finished watering, a volley was poured 
in fix>m the bluff, which is covered with bush, 
some hundred yards off. A soldier of the 90th 
was hit in the leg. How in the world they 
did so little damage we do not know. The 
distance was so short and the crowd so thick. 
The enemy had crept down and occupied every 
hole in the rocks possible. A lively stampede 
among the bathers took place. The spectacle 
of the naked men running about, with portions 



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of their raiment in their hands, was most 
ludicrous. The picket returned the fire, we 
sent all the horses to the camp, and skir- 
mished through the cover, each getting a 
convenient position for a shot. A lively little 
fusilade ensued, the enemy firing at us and we 
having a shot whenever they showed. Orders 
were sent to retire, which was done reluctantly 
enough. The bathers picked up their vesture 
and we retired. The Zulus still held the bluff 
and annoyed anyone going for water by their 
fire. During the day the head-quarter column 
came down to us, and their laager touched 
ours. Ours overlapping theirs gave us the 
advantage of a flanking fire. A stone fort was 
built on the top of the hill that commanded 
the laager, and some guns and a garrison 
occupied them. More of the brushwood was 
cleared away all round the camp. Large 
bodies of the enemy were engaged all day 
manoeuvring on the opposite side of the river. 
Several times they seemed about to cross and 
attack us. Some spies were captured, one of 
whom we had actually employed as a butcher 
at Kambula, some six months previously. 



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We do not know what was their fate. Large 
numbers of women were seen, through the field 
glasses, busily occupied bmying the valuables 
from the various kraals. Further down the 
river, in sight, were the Opate Hills, on which 
the Boers had, many years previously, received 
such a terrible defeat. The seven military 
kraals were all in sight on the other side. 
Umpambongwenu the furthest ofi*, with a broad 
path down it, Likazi and Ulundi next. On 
our right front, Indasakomi and Enokweni; 
right in front, Kanodwengo, the medicine 
kraal ; Bulawayo and Ukandampanina on the 
left front. Lord Chelmsford promised Ketch- 
wayo to spare Kanodwengo, as it was their 
sacred kraal. Generals Wood and Newdigate 
each sent out a spy to go to the King's kraal 
and pick up what information they could 
Night came, and the horses were got in and 
tied to the picket ropes. The laager was very 
crowded indeed, as both cattle and horses were 
inside. All had gone quietly and as usual till 
about ten at night, when suddenly shots were 
heard. We sprang up in the greatest hurry, 
thinking the enemy were upon us, and got our 



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revolver from under the coat which served as 
a pillow. The sight that met our eyes sur- 
passes all description, men were fighting at the 
foot of the slight earthwork to get in. Cries 
were uttered all round. Still thinking the 
Zulus were on us, we were looking among the 
struggling mass to pick out something to 
shoot. To our surprise we saw nothing but 
white men. Of course we then saw it was a 
scare, and got on a waggon to look round. 
What we saw, though ludicrous, was shameful. 
The demon panic was on everyone nearly. 
Down the side of the laager, however, the 13th 
were in their places, steady as a rock; the 
90th were falling in rapidly. The Basutos 
were perched upon the waggons laughing and 
full of excitement. The Native Irregulars 
were rushing into the laager, and were being 
vigorously bayonetted by the 80th, it was 
impossible nearly to tell them from the enemy, 
they were yelling like demons. At other 
points the sight was by no means so reassur- 
ing — men huddled together in the extremity 
of fear, the exertions of the ofl&cers alone 
prevented any firing. We saw eight men, or 



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rather boys clinging together sobbing pitifully, 
while a stalwart sergeant was ordering them 
to their places, and banging into them with the 
butt-end of a rifle to enforce his commands. 
Many men took refuge among the cattle and 
horses ; a native who was guarding the cattle 
was there, and imagining that the enemy were 
attacking, stood in shade of a bullock with his 
shield up and assegai poised ; the men rushing 
among the horses, in their turn, took him for 
a Zulu, and recoiled in affright. One man, 
who from his rank should have known better, 
was sleeping under a mimosa bush, he jumped 
up singing out, "Lord help us!" a thorn of 
the bush run into his side, " I am assegaid 1 I 
am assegaid !" said he, dashed over the earth- 
work, and tearing one man's face with his 
boot, jumped over the disselboom of the 
waggon and took refuge among the horses. 
It took some time to assure him that he was 
not injured. Another man made a dive to get 
through the spokes of a waggon-wheel, he 
stuck fast, and one of the men who was on the 
top of the waggon rousing up, saw this below 
— ^he began at once to lay into the unfortunate 



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fellow who roared and kicked to no purpose. 
Another man, three parts asleep, instead of 
making for the laager staggered into the bush 
until he hit his head against a stump and 
reaUy got roused. Many men were stuck like 
the ram in the thicket in the abattis. Many 
tales of this sort could be told, but it is 
important, not on account of its ludicrous as 
its shameful side. Short service was here on 
its trial, and in a few short moments revealed 
more of its defects than at home in years. 
The seasoned and old regiments, 90tli and 
13th, were ready at once; the camp could 
have been rushed before half the others even 
got their arms. We do not suppose it was 
from want of bravery or courage, but from no 
feeling of confidence in themselves that caused 
this. The fact is, the excessive precautions 
taken had made the Zulu into a regular bogie. 
Earthworks had been thrown up, three times 
as strong as our slight ones were. A regiment 
was constantly kept on guard with them, with 
us simply the pickets. One regiment on its 
march to join the column had laagered every 
night, even while in Natal. This might have 



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been useful to teach them, but certainly 
daunted them. The men were too young alto- 
gether for the work, and though the good 
English stuff was in them, it wanted season- 
ing to bring it out. We should have sup- 
pressed this incident altogether, but it mayhap 
will do something to draw attention to the 
many grave defects in that curse of the service 
— short service. The rest of the night was 
passed peaceably. 

A court-martial was held on the picket, or 
some men of it, and suitable punishment 
awarded. They had run in instead of feeling 
the enemy before retiring. We believe they 
were more afraid of their friends behind them 
than the enemy in front. The cause of the 
scare was this: the two spies sent out the 
previous evening had no objection to the 
reward, but had an objection to running any 
risk. Neither knew that anyone but himself 
was going. They went out, therefore, and 
after getting beyond the pickets, sat down 
quietly under a tree each. Wood's spy was 
doubtless making up a plausible tale to bring 
back to that officer in the morning, when he 



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saw Newdigate's spy ; he immediately shot at 
him and made off. Newdigate's man fired at 
random and ran in at the picket. The case 
may be vice versd, but that was then the 
version of the affair. 

This morning the Zulus again occupied the 
bluff, and annoyed all much. The time for the 
answer to the ultimatum expired at twelve. 
Within thirty-six hours after this the cavalry 
action, or skirmish of the 3rd, and the battle 
of Ulundi took place. At eleven orders came 
to saddle up, and at twelve we were in the 
saddle ready to dash across the river the mo- 
ment the hour came. 



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CHAPTEK X. 

A T five minutes to twelve, Colonel BuUer 
-^ and Lord William Beresford came can- 
tering down to us. We were halted just at 
the edge of the drift. This ford was some 
half-mile below the regular crossing. It may 
be remembered that the other ford was com- 
manded by a large bluflf, which rose immedi- 
ately below it. This bluflf fell off in a gradual 
decline as far as the crossing opposite to which 
we now stood, so that, once on the other side, 
a gallop of half a mile would bring us right on 
to the crest of the bluflF, and above the enemy's 
sharpshooters who lined its river front. From 
this front, covered with rocks, had come the 
shots which had so annoyed us the previous 
day. All this edge of the river between the 
two fords was in sight of the laager, some 



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1,500 yards off in fact. Looking back, one 
could see all the waggons crowded with ofl&cers 
and men ; everyone knew that all we did was 
to be done in sight of the whole column. 

The object of this cavalry reconnaissance 
was twofold, first, to turn out those of the 
enemy who were in the bluff, and who had so 
troubled us — ^these were the fellows who had 
come down within rifle-shot of a whole army 
and bearded it for an entire day — ^the second 
object was to proceed as far as possible with 
comparative safety on the road to Ulundi, and 
to observe the ground most careftdly on all 
sides ; this would enable Lord Chelmsford to 
choose his own ground on which to fight on 
the morrow. We now purpose to show how 
these objects were effected. The Colonel sat 
looking at his watch, as the hands pointed to 
twelve the order "forward" was given ; plung- 
ing in, a moment or two brought us to the 
opposite shore ; the water was shallow, not 
over two feet or so deep, the crossing, there- 
fore, was easy and safe. 

Immediately on gaining the opposite bank, 
one portion of the command turned sharply to 



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the left, their orders were to clear the bluff 
and hold the other ford. By this means there 
would always be a retreat open to the other 
and larger party. This first and smaller party, 
with which we will cast our fortunes, consisted 
of about one hundred of " Baker s Horse," led 
by Captain and Commandant Baker. Holding 
to the left, they galloped up to the gentle rise 
along the edge of the river ; the ground was 
pitted with holes and thick with aloes, mimosa, 
and other tropical shrubs, steinbok and duiker 
lay thick among them, and bounded up beneath 
our horses' feet, eyeing us with affrighted 
glance. The aloes through which we passed 
tore our clothes to pieces, however there was 
no time to stitch holes in clothes. As we 
drew near the enemy they still made no move, 
and we began to suspect a trap ; the fact was, 
the Zulus had no idea that we had crossed the 
stream, nor did they dream we would do so, 
save with a much larger force. They probably 
thought that the party which had moved to 
the lower ford merely went down to water 
their horses, (on each of the previous days we 
had done so at the same time), so moving 



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forward quickly, and dasHng through the 
aloes, we were among them and on to them 
before they were ready for us. About thirty 
were hastily collecting on the crest of the bluflF 
and let fly, but in a moment went under. 
Eunning to the brow of the hill, leaving our 
well-trained horses to breathe themselves, just 
under us we saw the enemy bolting in all 
directions from their hiding-places in the 
precipitous sides. A volley makes some go 
down, and the others rush back again into 
their holes in the rocks; we scramble down 
and begin ferreting them out from their cran- 
nies. As they rush out they fire hastily, we 
do the same, and if we miss they are shot by 
those of our men just above us on the verge of 
the precipice. One fellow we unearthed had 
made himself remarkably comfortable, he had 
got some straw to sit on, a bough bent over 
his head to shield him from the sun, tobacco 
and snuflf in a crevice just beside him. He 
had made quite a home in this place in the 
rocks, and was quite protected from any fire 
from the laager side of the river ; a convenient 
stone found him an excellent rest for his rifle, 



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which, by the way, was a Martini. He might 
rest assured that from there he could beard an 
army and be unhurt. He fired, missed, and 
went under to rise no more. One fellow slipped 
through us and made off down the hill at a 
ripping pace. He passed through a shower of 
of bullets, got cover, turned and fired, killing 
a horse ; then off again, running the gauntlet 
well ; just as he crossed a pool of water he was 
shot by Captain Baker, and fell headlong, 
purpling the stream with his blood. Five of 
the enemy took advantage of his bolt and 
made off toward the hills, distant some mile 
and a quarter. On the top of these hUls the 
Zulus were rapidly concentrating in dense 
masses. These five were pursued by the same 
number of Irregulars, four were lolled and one 
captured within rifle-shot of at least a thousand 
of the enemy. The prisoner was brought back, 
and while doing so another Zulu jumped from 
behind a bush, fired, missed, and died with a 
curse on his lips. The corps were drawn up, 
and preparations made to carry out Colonel 
Buller's order. While this was being done, 
the prisoner, who was secured by a valise strap 



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round his throat, attempted to take his captor's 
revolver from his pocket-pouch ; he had just 
got it out, when he was seen by a man riding 
behind him and shot. The prisoners were 
always the same, ready to sting like wasps 
whenever they got the chance. 

A small party were sent forward to tell 
Colonel Buller of the massing of the enemy on 
his left rear; with these we will rejoin the 
Colonel's own body of men. This consisted of 
the Frontier Light Horse, Mounted Infantry, 
Raafe's, Whalley's and the Basutos. They were 
in fact all that was serviceable of the Irregular 
Horse after a long and arduous campaign. 
This party had gone on in a straight line from 
the ford to Ulundi, then inclined to the left, 
so as to get on the main highway ; this they 
did just at Kanodwengo kraal, driving some 
Zulus out of it. Advancing, they found them- 
selves in an open plain covered with long 
grass, which went from Kanodwengo to Ulundi, 
only broken by a small stream. Going forward 
some distance they had a perfect opportunity 
of seeing and observing the country, thus 
accomplishing the second part of the pro- 



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gramme. Just immediately beyond this, in- 
deed, was the ground selected for the fight of 
the morrow, and on this ground it was fought 
actually. Here a few Zulus were seen driving 
a large flock of goats towards the hills. Ad- 
vancing rapidly to capture these, they see a 
few more Zulus, one of whom Lord William 
Beresford pursued and overtook, and proved 
the superiority of the sword over the assegai ; 
the man was cut down, right through shield 
and all, in sight of everyone. All were eager 
to capture the goats and bring them in, spoil 
of UlundL The vigilant Colonel saw they did 
not appear to be in any great hurry; he 
inmiediately suspected a trap and called, 
" Halt and fire without dismounting, they are 
foxing," this was done by the leading troop, 
when suddenly from the grass three thousand 
Zulus sprung up and fired ; it was a cleverly 
laid plot, and must have been nearly sponta- 
neous, and was within an ace of being success- 
ful. If there had been any dismounting, or a 
further advance, there would have been many 
killed ; the enemy, who were in a semi-circle, 
could have rushed us before we could mount. 

11 



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Lying in the long grass they were completely 
invisible ; as it was, from a volley fired at a 
hundred and fifty yards, only half-a-dozen 
men and horses were knocked over, most of 
the shots as usual went high. It was miracu- 
lous, yet not the less true. Here were some 
two or three thousand men, armed with rifles, 
many of them good ones, firing at some two or 
three hundred men at one hundred and fifty 
yards, and doing only so little damage ; every 
bullet has it billet, but where these went is a 
wonder. The enemy poured in another volley, 
three men were dismounted ; to one of them 
the Adjutant of the Light Horse gave his 
horse, the fellow immediately rode off and left 
his preserver in the plsiin ; the Adjutant had 
extreme difficulty in escaping, of course ; the 
man he saved and who treated him so badly 
was a German. The Zulus were advancing 
rapidly, yet Lord William Beresford turned 
his horse's head and rode back, resolved to 
save life or lose his own. The man he went 
to rescue was a huge trooper of the Light 
Horse, his horse was shot^ and he himself was 
giddy with pain. Here took place the scene 



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wliicli everyone in England knows of. On 
reaching, him, Lord William ordered him to 
mount behind him, the man either did not 
hear or did not understand, and hesitated; 
Lord William jumped off his own horse and 
told him if he did not mount he would punch 
his head ; with difficulty the man obeyed and 
mounted behind him, and thus they rode off. 
All this took place while the Zulus were racing 
over the one hundred and fifty yards that 
separated them from the pair, it, therefore, 
occupied but little time, enough, however, to 
earn two or more V.C.'s. Commandant Cecil 
D'Arcy, who had earned his V.C. over and 
over on the Zlobane day, and who, though 
then recommended for the decoration, did not 
get it as he was an Irregular, now earned it 
again. He likewise rode back to save a dis- 
mounted and stunned man, he jumped off his 
horse and attempted to lift the man bodily into 
the saddle, this he could not do, and while 
trying severely strained his back, so severely, 
indeed, as to have to miss the battle of the 
next day ; probably the first fight for three 
years he had missed in South. Afirica. The 



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Zulus closed on him rapidly, and he was only 
just able, crippled as he was, to avoid them 
and get away, even without accomplishing his 
object. 

The rear files of the retreating Irregulars 
now turned round, and began to check the 
pursuit of the enemy with their fire. Mean- 
while an order was sent by Colonel Buller to 
Commandant Baker to stand firm at all 
hazards and keep the ford. Encouraged by 
the success of their comrades, the men threat- 
ening Commandant Baker descended from the 
hills and advanced to dislodge that officer. 
It became a question of time whether Colonel 
BuUer's party could reach the ford, turning 
and firing as they were before Captain Baker's 
party were driven back, as they eventually 
must be. Advancing a little, Captain Baker 
selected a better position, halted, and began to 
exchange shots with the advancing enemy on 
his left. Just at this moment the leading 
files of Colonel BuUer came in sight in Baker's 
front, over the brow of the low eminence on 
which stood Kanodwengo kraal ; soon we see 
them all come over the brow and by the edge 



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of the kraaJ, Colonel Buller we could see in 
the rear, now and then giving the word to halt 
and fire. Lord William Beresford was there 
with his just rescued man behind him, a 
ludicrous sight enough, two men, one of them 
a giant almost, mounted on Lord William's 
small pony. Very soon the rear files clear 
Kanodwengo kraal and begin to descend the 
slope, the red of the mounted infantry mingled 
with the more sombre uniform of the Irregu- 
lars. Commandant Eaafe (ably seconded by 
Captain Weldon, an old Central Indian man), 
conspicuous as usual by his splendid and cool 
courage ; Commandant Raafe had seen many a 
fierce border fray in his time. Now the 
advance of the Zulus appear round the comer 
of the kraal, but are saluted by such a fire 
that they give back; only for a moment 
though, for a second later they again rush 
forward and open into skirmishing order. 
Coming down the hill they are exposed to a 
fire from those on the opposite slope. Now 
the Colonel's men cross the stream and begin 
to come up to, and pass. Baker's party, these 
latter still firing at the enemy on front and on 



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the left. By this time we see that all is rights 
and that the Colonel has again brought off his 
men all safe, with slight loss and a complete 
fulfilment of the objects of his expedition. 
The Colonel's men cross the river and take up 
a position behind it to let Baker's party cross. 
The latter now descends from his position and 
rides down the path to the river ; the Basutos 
scattered, as is their wont, everjrwhere, are 
firing furiously and at large. With a noble 
disregard of the difference between friend and 
foe, they fire their rifles with one hand, the 
muzzle describing a wavering and uncertain 
circle embarassing and unsatisfactory to those 
who, like us, were somewhere in the direction 
they were aiming at. One fellow, as he rode 
down the hill, had his rifle at the slope, and 
was feeding it with cartridges .without ever 
taking it from that position. Every time the 
rifle went off he gave a howl of delight ; how 
deaf he must have got with the muzzle so near 
his ear. We were behind this man, and be- 
tween him and the enemy ; he, no doubt, was 
something like that Scotchman, who, after 
Balaclava, boasted he had killed a man, but he 



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was "no sure but it were a dam Turk". 
While the last party cross the rirer, the water 
SQemed to hiss and boil with the bullets from 
the enemy, now but a few yards off; of course 
your horse is thirsty and wants to drink with 
a most complacent disregard of danger. Once 
on this side the river a sort of small-arm duel 
begins across its flood, till an order comes 
down from the leader to cease firing and re- 
turn to the laager, distant some fourteen 
hundred yards. A parting shot and this is 
done. Just as we mount a fellow steps from 
the tall reeds on the river's edge and deliber- 
ately fires, an officer called out "Rest your 
rifle in the fork of that tree and shoot that 
fellow/* the ball struck the Zulu in the brain 
and he bounded into the air and fell clutching 
in the golden sand. 

On coming in and making up the butcher's 
bill, the extent of the loss is seen luckily more 
in horse-flesh than men. There were some 
very ugly wounds, one man was shot just 
over the breast and one could see his heart 
beating almost. This was done by a potleg, 
or something of that sort ; of course it proved 



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mortal As usual there were many narrow 
shaves; one man was left in the enem/s 
hands a prisoner, but it was of course un- 
avoidable. 

In half-an-hour the horses were out, and in 
an hour the men were at dinner, and the 
portion of the laager belonging to us resumed 
its ordinary appearance. Indeed, if a stranger 
went through the camp, he would not re- 
cogm'se the fact that the men chaffing each 
other and laughing away had a few minutes 
previously been in jeopardy of their lives. 
Use soon renders all callous. Some of the 
youngest and newest of the reinforcements 
came down to look at the Irregulars they had 
just seen engaged ; they were hugely disgusted 
to see the men eating heartily and grunting at 
each other, instead of talking about their late 
adventure. 

The rest of the afternoon passed quietly 
enough, rifles were cleaned and pouches refilled. 
Towards evening General Wood paraded his 
division, and told them that to-morrow he 
intended to cross the river, and there would 
doubtless be a battle, which would be fought 



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169 

in hollow square. He told them that the 
Zulus said, that as long as the 24th Regiment 
at Isandula fought in square nothing could be 
done to them. The General said that, as well 
he might, he had the greatest confidence in 
them, and told them he did not doubt the 
issue of the battle. This was greeted with a 
ringing cheer. Arrangements were then made 
as to those to be left behind, the l-24th and 
some others were selected for the defenders of 
the laager. The laager had been previously- 
surrounded by an earthwork banking up the 
waggons to above the wheels ; by this it could 
be defended by much fewer men, and the loss 
in the event of an attack would be much 
smaller. The shelter-trench that had pre- 
viously ran round the laager was thus des- 
troyed, and two earthworks had to be made 
in the four days. If the General could have 
only made up his mind. Throughout the 
whole of this war poor Tommy Atkins had to 
suffer for this indecision, and many a useless 
yard of earthwork has he ran up only jto level 
as useless the next day. This applies more 
especially to the head-quarter column, General 



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Wood in ours was too careful of his men to 
work them thus unnecessarily. Some spy- 
soon took over the announcement of our 
crossing to the Zulus, who came down to the 
river and chaffed us. They told us we had 
been beaten that day and would be the next, 
that they would allow us to get well into the 
plain before they attacked us, and then that 
not a man of us would escape. We told them. 
" Wait a bit, old fellows, and see, mayhap it 
won't be so onesided an affair as you imagine.'^ 
A laugh of derision was our answer, and then 
they chaff away again. Soon all grows still 
at the river's bank, but we hear the shout of 
triumph and exultation swell forth as the news 
reaches kraal after kraal. At last the hated 
invader is about to hazard the final cast, to- 
morrow they will place themselves voluntarily 
in our power, and we shall be for ever rich 
with their spoil, the men whose rifles have 
kiUed our people will now be themselves the 
victims. This seemed the burden of their 
song. It was really splendid the belief these 
men had in themselves. Our feeling was 
something similar to a man with a good book 



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on a race, who knows he has a real good thing 
on, and cannot help smiling as he sees his 
opponents also confident of victory. How the 
news got across or who was the spy was not 
discovered, but the news got across to the 
Zulus in less than an hour. AU the early part 
of the night the enemy seemed to be marching 
and counter-marching from kraal to kraal, and 
singing their war-songs. We afterwards found 
out they had a big drink that night on kafl&r 
beer (utywala). They seemed to stop a con- 
siderable time at one place, and their howls 
there were terrific. It seems that here they 
tortured and finally put to death the poor 
white prisoner they had taken in the morning; 
what his feelings must have been as the 
demons captured him. The kafc beer looks 
remarkably like a certain English compound, 
thin gruel or skilly-go-lee, it tastes sour, but 
is refreshing on a hot day. The Zulus man- 
age to get very drunk on that, and we have 
seen it positively running out of the mouths 
of some we have killed. 



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CHAPTER XI. 

T7ERY early in the morning our preparations 
^ are made, and long before dawn we are 
in the saddle and at the drift we crossed by 
at twelve on the previous day. The infantry 
and guns are to cross by the upper drift, a 
force holds the laager and the fort which 
commands it, with several guns also; the 
cattle are left in laager with all the sick horses, 
and all things left snug. It seems to be just 
a toss up if the Zulus wiU hazard all on a 
desperate attack on those who cross, or prefer 
the easier and more lucrative work of sacking, 
if they can, the laager. Each of us carry a 
day and half's provisions in the saddle-bag. 
Every man also carries one hundred rounds of 
ball-cartridge, there is also a large reserve of 
ammunition in the few waggons that ac- 



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company the infantry. The force, crossing the 
river, consists of besides Irregulars, some 
Lancers, the number we do not know, and 
a few Dragoons as cavalry. Of artillery 
there were five guns of Colonel Harness's 
battery, aU 7-pounders, two Gatlings and five 
guns of Major Le Grice's battery — 9 -pounders. 
The Kegiments were six companies of the 
l-13th Light Lafantry; two companies of the 
2l8t; five companies of the 80th Kegiment; 
seven companies of the 90th Kegiment; six 
companies of the 94th Kegiment, and the 58th 
Kegiment. We do not quite know if any of 
the 2-24th Kegiment were there. 

We soon get the order to cross the river, 
and in a few moments we are on the other 
side. We cross a little before the Infantry- 
cross at their ford. Advancing, we ride along 
a narrow path, which leads from our ford on 
to the main road. As early as we are up the 
vultures are ahead of us, and they rise, already 
nearly gorged, from the corpses of the men 
kiUed the day before. We see a good many 
bodies, mostly those of men wounded, and 
who had died after reaching the path; they 



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had been makmg for the high road but had 
perished before getting there. The distance 
men will go with even such an ugly wound as 
a firactured knee-joint is amazing ; on one oc- 
casion we came across a man who had crawled 
eight miles with such a wound. On reaching 
the road we divide into troops, and spread out 
in a circle round the infantry. From our posi- 
tion we cannot see the latter, but know they 
have crossed ; poor fellows, it was a bad pre- 
paration getting wet fording the river. On 
reaching the other side they have to get into 
position, which they do just beyond the bluflf. 
The advance is again sounded, and we go on 
again. Our particular position was to the left 
front of the line of march, but a considerable 
distance from it. Nothing, so far, is to be 
seen, but a few bodies now and then marking 
the conflict of the 3rd. On passing Kano- 
dwengo kraal the enemy are seen gathering on 
the surrounding hills rapidly, yet keeping out 
of sight in a measure ; for they evidently do 
not consider us far enough in the plain to 
attack us. Many small bodies leave the kraals 
and join the various Zulus regiments concen- 



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trating on the hills. Again we halt, and 
looking through a field-glass at the distant 
enemy, are amazed to find how quickly the 
small companies seem to be swelling to strong 
regiments. Evidently there is to be a fight, 
but the question is will they attack us or we 
them. As we again proceed, they march along 
the hills in a line parallel to our advance. A 
message to the Colonel gives us a chance to 
see what the arrangements are on the other 
side. The Frontier Light Horse are in front, 
and Whalley's and the Basutos on the right 
front and right. Colonel Buller is constantly 
going from one to another troop. On the 
right the same gathering of Zulus is to be 
seen as on the left. Instead of on the hills they 
are massing in the bush, and on the banks of 
the little river Nodwengive. Another large 
body are collecting again at Ulundi. Eiding 
back, we find that soon we shall be engaged, 
the enemy have left the hills and are now 
marching at their base. We next come across 
the bodies of those of our men killed by the 
big volley of the day before. They are naked, 
and have the usual Zulu c(ywp de grace. Two 



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or three horses are about, and worse than all, 
the body of the poor prisoner, tied to a sort of 
stake, and tortured and mutilated in a fearful 
manner. This sight is not quite the one cal- 
culated to animate one with a spirit of mercy, 
and threats loud and deep are uttered on the 
perpetrators. 

Now the head of the column appears in 
view, just as the morning sun appears over 
the hills. It is a pretty sight enough that we 
look on, the bright steel of the bayonets, the 
red uniforms of the infantry, and the flutter- 
ing pennons of the Lancers. Over yonder, 
where the Zulus are quickly gathering, aU is 
gloom as yet; they lie under the shadow of 
the mountain. Now we again move forward 
over places where the enemy seem to have 
buried some of their valuables. We find the 
long grass in places woven together so as to 
trip over our horses, pits have been dug and 
covered over with a coarse kind of creeping 
grass. This was evidently done to entrap the 
horsemen. The square in the meantime ad- 
vances, moving briskly on — ^what a sight it 
was. The square is loose at present, but it is 



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of such a description that a few moments 
could close the ranks. The guns march par- 
allel to the men; the regular cavalry some 
little distance ahead; in the centre are the 
ammunition waggons, water-carts and am- 
bulances ; the colours of all the various regi- 
ments are flying, the first time for many days, 
and the bands play them into action. The 
stirring music vibrates through all hearts, and 
makes one impatient for the battle so soon to 
come. Not long have we now to wait, the 
square nearly reaches the ground for the fight. 
Lord Chelmsford says to Colonel Buller, "Shall 
we fight here." " No, a;little further on," is 
the reply. The mass moves to the position 
indicated, and after some alteration in the 
formation, the guns get into position and are 
loaded; the ammunition boxes are opened, 
doctors get out their instruments, and all is 
ready. Will they walk into the trap ? is now 
the question, surely it's a transparent ruse. 
In the meantime we are not idle, but are still 
in advance of the column. The Zulus now 
emerge from the base of the hills and strike 
across towards us. Looking round we see the 

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same thing occurring on the other side. Now 
Colonel Buller comes up, " Send twenty men 
to ride up close to those fellows, and draw 
them on, don't let anyone dismount, and mind 
that donga to your right." Captain Parminter 
goes therefore with those twenty men, and we 
will go with him. On seeing such a small band 
coming, the Zulus open out, and immediately 
set a trap for us. They send a body down the 
donga Colonel Buller referred to a moment 
ago. Even playing for such a stake as they 
were, they cannot help trying for even so small 
a trick. We ride close up to them and fire at 
them, more with the idea of enraging them 
than of doing any damage. It succeeds; 
furious at being bearded by so small a body, 
they fire at random and advance. Ah ! there it 
is, one fellow, a pigheaded German gets down, 
in spite of orders, to fire. Terrified at the 
shouts and rush of the Zulus, the horse plunges 
and will not let its rider mount; the man 
himself, nervous enough now, sees the full 
extent of his danger. Captain Parminter rides 
up to him with another, and helps the man 
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just time to get away. As they turn to go, 
the Zulus, some of whom had crept down the 
donga, redouble their exertions to cut them 
off, the rest of the men being safe. These last 
three ride at a furious pace over the ground, 
knowing that one false step is certain death. 
The place is pitted with the artificial holes dug 
and covered by the enemy, and the grass 
plaited. It seems wonderful, but these were 
safely crossed without mishap and again they 
are safe. The rifle shots resound all round the 
square from the Irregulars as they draw on 
the enemy. Effectually they have done it 
now, and turning they ride for the shelter of 
the square to avoid that storm they have 
raised. Very pretty the square seemed, lying 
there so motionless and still in the morning 
sun. How soon is the change to be made, 
and the whole face of it flash and grow pale 
with the volleys and smoke. Already the 
artillery are at it hard, and the shells scream 
over our heads as we ride for the square. 
Squish 1 goes a rocket for Ulundi, hit it fairly 
as I live, and in a second a hut is in a blaze, 
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advancing enemy, but as they are mostly in 
skirmishing order the damage done is slight. 
A second more we are in the square, the 
infantry opening to let us through, we then 
dismount and have time to look round us. 
Not then did we think how pretty the square 
looked as we rode down to it. Within all is 
busy and stern. The artillerymen are stand- 
ing to their guns, the infantry ready, and the 
cavalry standing by their horses. Down comes 
the advancing rush of Zulus, and now the 
musketry fire opens and the leaden hail sweeps 
the ground. By Jove, how can any living 
thing stand before that awful fire ? Overhead 
the bullets are screaming hoarsely, each with a 
different note. The sharper ring of the Mar- 
tini plainly to be told from the duller sound of 
the Snider. The rough' cast bullets of the 
Enfields and long elephant guns sing a regular 
psean, while the potlegs and wire literally howl 
^in their course. If we are to be hit to-day let 
it be with a rifle ball if possible. The unmis- 
takable thud of bullets as they strike horse or 
man is now often heard. Horses spring up 
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cr3naig in their agony. A stretcher party, the 
pillow already deeply dyed passes us. All 
things seem in pretty good form now, so we 
can take a walk round the square. We do so 
and see things worth seeing. The position of 
the square may be described as follows : it was 
some eleven hundred yards from Kanodwengo 
kraal, and about eighteen hundred from Ulundi 
Its front looked towards the latter and the 
right rested opposite the former. It was on 
the top of the least possible rise, but was 
surrounded by taU grass that much embarrassed 
the rifles. Just for a few yards outside the 
square, the grass had been hastily beaten down 
by the men's feet. It wiU be seen that it was 
within rifle shot of Kanodwengo kraal. The 
square was constituted as follows. Its shape 
was oblong, one of the two shorter sides was 
occupied by five companies of the 80th Kegi- 
ment, having two seven-pounder guns of 
Colonel Harness' battery placed in the centre. 
The west side which was longer, was composed 
of the 90th Light Infantry and the 58 th 
Eegiment having two nine-pounder guns of 
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Gatlings were placed at the comer between 
the 80th and 90th Regiments. The third side, 
which was of the same length as that occupied 
by the 80th Regiment, was made up of some 
companies of the 21st Regiment. The Lancers 
were immediately behind them, and two nine- 
pounders of Major Le Grice's battery in the 
centre, while another nine-pounder of the 
same battery separated them from the fourth 
side ; here were stationed the 94th Regiment 
with six companies of the 13th Light Infantry. 
Between the 94th and 13th were two of 
Colonel Harness' seven-pounders, and another 
was at the comer between the 13th and 80th. 
The ranks were two deep, but there was a 
moving chain of supports that went round as 
required. Some Irregulars and the Dragoons 
and mounted Basutos were drawn up behind 
the 80th. Each man held his bridle and stood 
to his horse's head. They had ample leisure 
to see what was going on, and their comments 
were most amusing. The Basutos were great 
fun, they had attacked the Zulus on the side 
between Kanodwengo and Ulundi with deter- 
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driven in they had come to the square and got 
in. At first they did not like it much, they 
would even have rather made a desperate 
efibrt to break through the chain of enemies. 
At last they came in, and once inside their 
admiration was extreme. One man, Sky^ by 
name, who spoke very good English, said, 
" This grand. Englishman says, come in Johnie, 
sit down, eatum buscuit, we fight, then make 
a laager of their own bodies, that good Eng- 
lishman brave man. Englishman love poor 
Johnie." Having done more than their share 
of work hitherto, they could hardly believe all 
they had now to do was to look on. At Kam- 
bula they would not enter the laager, but 
during the whole action they remained outside, 
and harrassed the flanks of the enemy. The 
attitude of the miserable Natal Kaffirs or 
Native Contingent was in striking contrast to 
this. Down flat on the ground they lay, face 
downwards and their shields on their backs, in 
the most pitiable alarm, making the most 
hideous noises expressing their fright. Their 
officers were looking on and laughing at their 
fears, but nothing would reassure them. They 



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were finnly convinced that their last hour was 
come ; yet these very men that night boasted 
of their exploits in the most astounding way. 
One of the Basutos said that as they met the 
advance of the Zulus, the enemy called out 
** Now we have you at last, some few of the 
mounted men among you may get away, but 
the red soldiers will all die". In our walk 
round the square we see that the ammunition 
waggons and water-carts are all most advanta- 
geously placed by those in charge. The 
doctors are busy at work with the red cross 
of St. George flying overhead. Army Hospital 
men are busy bringing them patients. Archi- 
bald Forbes, who had laid a level hundred 
there would be no fight, is there, looking not 
one whit dismayed at its loss ; he stands with 
note-book and pencil in hand, taking in every- 
thing at a glance, and knowing probably more 
about the business in hand than any one there. 
Melton Prior is moving about also, sketch-book 
and pencil busily occupied, surely a picture 
worth drawing was he now looking on. Eight 
well the spirit of the thing was caught, as his 
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too was the clergyman, Mr. Coar, who was 
standing at the head of a grave, quietly read- 
ing the burial service while the bullets whistled 
overhead. A touching picture enough as the 
bodies were laid in the hastily made grave — ^it 
was a certainly unique position for an army 
chaplain. However necessity has no law and 
it may be necessary to move forward at once. 
There are the Gatlings just up there, working 
busily, making a queer clicking noise as they 
are fired. Let us go up and see them. There 
gather a few Zulus, about eighteen or so ; in a 
moment the deadly barrels are levelled, and 
they disappear like a snow-wreath. A wounded 
artilleryman is sitting on the ground, he re- 
fuses to be removed to the hospital, but busies 
himself in filling the drums as they are 
emptied ; there is his blood on the barrels of 
one of them where he fell after receiving his 
hurt. Now comes the word passed from man 
to man down the ranks, " Pass a Gatling this 
way," and off goes one. We heard that both 
went out of action afterwards from the same 
cause, namely the slipping out of a pin or bolt. 
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it took some time to recover them. It was a 
fault in the mechanism and not an inherent 
defect of construction, and the effect of these 
little weapons when held from the tops of a 
ship, the parapets of a fort, or in the field in 
position, must be wonderful. Passing through 
the crowded square between ambulances and 
ammunition waggons we see Lord Chelmsford 
and his staff. Further on our own commander, 
Colonel Buller, with the inevitable telescope, 
sitting motionless on his horse. Then General 
Wood and his staff, next General Newdigate 
with his. The number of mounted oflficers in 
the square was large, and it is a great wonder 
that more were not hit, considering that all or 
the greater portion of the bullets were going 
high above our heads. Colonel Glyn we next 
see, and many other well known faces. Colonel 
Glyn's adjutant, or staff officer, we forget 
which, was hit twice while on horseback. His 
galloper, Lieut. Phipps, was also wounded. 

Now we are again back to our place and by 
our horse ; any one of ours hit ? No, only 
three horses and one trooper so far, and he 
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get a good view of what is going forward. 
The long grass hides our view in a great 
measure, but we see the formation of the 
enemy plainly for all that. They seem to be 
in a large mass all round at various distances. 
A large mass is in Kanodwengo kraal, and 
puffs of white smoke break from all round it. 
An immense body several thousands strong, 
are stationed at the bluff which commands 
the ford the infantry crossed by this morning. 
They are waiting there to cut us off when we 
shall have to break and disperse in all di- 
rections. For all we know they are going to 
attack the laager and we intently listen to 
hear the big guns over there ; the din and roar 
in our position is however too great for us to 
catch anything. The body of the enemy 
whom we had drawn on were still enduring 
the leaden hail and not quailing, but replying 
briskly. Standing up in our stirrups we can 
see many of the enemy quite close to us 
within fifty yards of the square ; these the 
rear files, though standing up, cannot see on 
account of the long grass. One man we saw 
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remained motionless for about a minute while 
a regular tornado of bullets whizzed over his 
head, then he seemed to decide not to face 
that any longer and quietly crept back— r 
whether he got off or not we of course do not 
know. 

From the Ulundi direction large masses of 
the enemy are lying in the grass, and affording 
no mark save at the smoke of their volleys. 
They are firing briskly away, but as every- 
where else, are aiming high. Now and again 
the bugle goes " cease firing," to let the smoke 
clear away, and some of the regiments are 
hard to stop. The fact seems to be that these 
very perfect and marvellously quick-shooting 
rifles, cause a tendency to hasty and iU-directed 
firing. A man has one hundred rounds of 
cartridge about him, and he thinks that he 
may fire ad libitum. It is simply amazing 
how very quickly one gets through even so 
large a number of cartridges. It seems a 
great pity that firing by volleys is not more 
universally carried out than it is ; a really 
well-directed volley simply blasts and withers 
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firing neither does that amount of damage nor 
produces that moral effect that the volleys do. 
Some men seemed to get so excited, those 
young soldiers especially so, and their officers 
have the utmost difficulty in making them 
obey the bugle call. "Look at him there, 
Jack, slap at him," we hear a man say. Jack 
obeys, though a second before an officer has 
spoken to him on the same subject. In some 
papers we read how at Ulundi whole voUeya 
were wasted, we cannot go quite as fax, though 
there undoubtedly was a fearful expenditure 
of ammunition. The number of rounds fired 
by our men was some thirty-five thousand 
exclusive of artillery fire. For this there was 
no corresponding return of killed enemy. 
Probably soiiie twelve hundred were left dead> 
or in all two thousand killed and wounded, by 
artillery, rifles, sword and lance, and the 
assegais of the Native contingent. Looking 
again, we see that the enemy seem to be mov- 
ing round us, outside a certain undefined sort 
of circle. They appear to be looking for an 
opening of some sort to rush .in. The bolder 
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swept off or seem to melt away. Right over 
them we now look towards the camp, we left 
some days previously on the Magnumbonum 
heights. We know well there are many a 
look from there over to us and many an 
anxious heart as the cannons are heard from 
our square. A large Zulu reserve, as it ap- 
pears, we see on the hills on the left, they are 
evidently waiting to come down and entrap us 
when we break Afar off over the kraal with 
a broad path down to it, Nedabakacubi by 
name, we see another reserve. We learned 
afterwards that Cetewayo and the white trader 
Viju were there. If we had only known it at 
that time we could have made a vigorous effort 
in that direction in the pursuit, and might 
have captured the King some time before he 
was eventually taken. He was on the direct 
road for the newly built Manzekane kraal, 
where it was reported most of his valuables 
were, and which was supposed to be strongly 
fortified. It was distant some seventeen miles 
from us. Begging a pipe of tobacco, for our 
own was done long before, we light up and 
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might have begged in vain for tobacco, but 
the knowledge that the possessor may be 
knocked over every minute, and the openness 
of heart engendered by so glorious a spectacle 
makes our request be gratified. Down to the 
ambulance we go, and see a good many men 
lying about, and the stretchers more bloody 
than they were when we saw them last ; the 
doctors hard at work, binding up skilfully and 
rapidly, the dhooly bearers in the most abject 
state of funk. Here we see poor Lieutenant 
Pardoe of the 1-1 3th, a most promising officer, 
brought in. Soon after we go up again and 
see a Natal Pioneer officer get a close shave 
through his helmet. Colonel Drury Lowe gets 
knocked of his horse by a spent bullet about 
this time. The firing seems more rapid just 
now, and the enemy seem gathering for a last 
rush. A sort of surging wave goes through 
the grass all round, is received with fearful 
volleys, wavers, then breaks and again opens 
out and begins to fire. Hurrah ! that decides 
it all, the most determined rush is broken, and 
again we breathe. Now down come an order 
from the General. " Lancers out," the orders 



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"stand to your horses — ^prepare to mount — 
mount," are given, and all the Lancers are in 
their saddles. Then another piece of indecision 
comes, and down they get again. Another 
sKght rush of the enemy takes place; then 
"Lancers out," comes again, this time in 
earnest. The Lancers spring into the saddle, 
the infantry open and let them out. Down 
comes General Wood looking as pleased as 
possible to us, " All mounted men out," and in 
an instant we are oflf. The enemy halt a 
second, waver and then fly — ^the battle of 
Ulundi is over and the pursuit begins. 



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CHAPTER XII. 

TTP into the saddle without a moment's 
^ delay, gather up the reins and pass 
quickly through the infantry who have done 
their work so well, ours is now about to begin. 
They give us a cheer as they wipe the perspir- 
ation that runs down their sunburnt cheeks. 
The Lancers, who are ahead of us, have already 
settled down to their work, and are riding hard 
with levelled lances on the fast retreating foe. 
We swing round to the right in the direction 
of the hills and lose sight of them for the time 
being. 

All order among the enemy is gone, and 
they are become utterly demoralised, flying in 
small and scattered bands towards the hills. 
Soon we begin to come up with them, and the 
rifles once more begin to play out. Most of 

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the Zulus on being overtaken turn round and 
fire, using their assegais immediately after- 
wards. Our men use their carbine pistol- wise. 
One has to be careful and ride with a tight 
rein, as every moment you pass over a body. 
Some Kving men are there too, stretched out 
and hiding in the long grass; they are crouched 
down and trusting to escape afterwards. We 
follow up the enemy till they reach the hills, 
where on the slopes they rally once more, the 
small bands get together and turn. A lively 
little bit of musketry fire takes place, which 
ends in the enemy retreating again, this time 
right to the top of the steep hill, up which it 
would be well nigh impossible to get. They 
remain there some time, and get quite nu- 
merous as each little party converges. 

As we turn and ride away they give us a 
parting volley, they are too shaky after their 
long run to do much damage though. On the 
hillside where the grass is short we find but 
few bodies, and those only what we had killed 
in the pursuit up the slope. When, however, 
we arrive at the long grass, the bodies are very 
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of the enemy who are hiding. They are very 
numerous, and a lively dropping fire is heard 
from both Zulu and British barrels. It is diffi- 
cult to imagine why these men had not taken 
to their heels and bolted with their more pru- 
dent comrades. Perhaps they were so ab- 
sorbed loading and firing at the square, that 
they had not noticed the sudden panic that 
ran through their ranks. Perhaps, again, they 
thought it was only a temporary giving back, 
and that at the worst they might feign death 
and escape when all was over. They may 
have crouched in abject terror, listening to the 
tornado of bullets that was sweeping over 
them, and were distraught with fear ; anyhow, 
they died hard, fighting to the last, no cry for 
mercy or quarter escaped their lips. 

The Basutos were very busy among them, 
exchanging shots at random as usual, and 
making things hazardous for friends and foes 
alike ; I should think one of the most unplea- 
sant comrades for covert shooting or grouse 
driving would be a Basuto, their idea of the 
line of fire is generous, and they distribute 
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boundless hospitality. As the Zulus shot at 
them they wheeled their active little ponies 
and managed to escape. In one donga there 
were many Zulus hid, and the Basutos were 
driving them down our way. As we come 
close to the edge, just below our feet, we see a 
brawny Zulu with a muzzle-loading elephant 
gun resting on his knee; there seems to be 
something wrong, and we see him vigorously 
prodding away at the nipple of his piece till it 
gets clear. All this time we are just above 
and behind him, and have him well covered 
with our revolvers while we watch him. Plac- 
ing a cap on the nipple he climbs the opposite 
bank and peeps over, silently thrusting his 
gun forward and resting it on the edge of the 
nullah ; the whole action reminds one irre- 
sistibly of deer-stalking. Just then an in- 
cautious movement on our part makes him 
look behind : he sees us, not soon enough to 
turn round and fire though, as a revolver 
bullet crashes through his back, and he rolls 
down the bank dead. Another fellow comes 
bounding down the donga, running from the 
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infantrjnnan, in an instant he shoots the red- 
coat's horse, pierces the rider through the 
thigh, crosses the nullah, stabs a doctor's 
horse (we believe the doctor of the 17th Lan- 
cers), a nervous start of the horse alone saving 
the rider from being transfixed ; one moment 
later and the gallant Zulu faUs. 

The regimental dog, a cross-bred brute, 
who, however, is deeply enshrined in the men^s 
hearts and aflfections, distinguishes himself 
greatly; he runs about, and whenever he 
comes to a living Zulu barks at him furiously. 
This is very useful, as many are simply 
shamming dead or foxing in the grass, they 
will take a pot shot at you the moment your 
back is turned. The old dog will not even 
look at a really dead Zulu, but if one is foxing 
a good bite soon raises him to fury and to a 
headlong attack on poor *Lion'; who has a 
tolerable eye to his own safety. Turning 
again to the square we pass a Zulu, lying to 
all appearance dead, with two magnificent 
assegais and a gun beside him ; Captain Baker 
says: "Jump down and get those for me," 
the moment the assegais are touched the 



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fellow springs up, levels his gun and fires, 
missing his mark and killing Lieutenant 
Addie's horse. 

The effects of the shell fire was marked in 
the extreme, here and there we came across 
the most fearftdly mutilated bodies; the 
rockets also seemed to have inflicted terrible 
wounds. The dead, on the other hand, who 
were slain with the Martini rifles were sin- 
gularly little disfigured, a very small hole 
where the bullet went in, and another rather 
larger at the exit were the only marks. 

Everything was by this time over, and we 
quietly follow in the wake of Colonel BuUer 
towards Ulundi. Down by the Httle Ulundi 
Kiver we dismount to get a draught of water, 
as we stoop down to drink we see, a foot from 
us, a Zulu, standing in the water with his 
head hidden by the overhanging rushes. It 
rather startles one as you are just getting a 
gulp of the much needed water, to see a 
hideous face so close. Search shows five more 
of these fellows in the same pool, and as they 
refuse to yield the water is soon undrinkable 
and bloody. Long after we hear shots, as the 



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pools are searched the one aiter the other by 
the native contingent. These last, after the 
most abject and pitiful terror during the fight, 
had mustered courage enough to rush out of 
the square after the horsemen, a few Zulus 
turned on them, and despite the exertions of 
their European leaders they had bolted, only 
to come out again when everything was done 
except slaughter. 

We were all moving again leisurely towards 
Ulundi, in rear of Colonel Buller, when he 
suddenly turned round and sang out : " Now, 
then, who's first into Ulimdi?" waiving his 
own undoubted right to first footing. Imme- 
diately we dash off" for the kraal, distant some 
quarter of a mile or so. Lord William Beres- 
ford leads, and going straight as a dart for the 
stiff fence round the kraal, his little pony flies 
it like a bird, landing cleverly in among the 
beehived shaped huts. Others more prudent 
make for the top side of the kraal, where 
stands the large square mud house, the late 
residence of his Majesty King Ketchwayo. 
Up to this we race, and jumping off, rush 
through the opening and find ourselves in a 



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sort of labyrinth made of tall stiff wooden 
fences, over which it is impossible to climb. 
This was evidently buUt to guard against a 
surprise; it stretches all round the royal 
house, and might be held for a long time by a 
handful of resolute men against a foe who was 
not possessed of artillery. Clearly he who 
made it never contemplated its use, save 
against a sudden rising of his clans ; the floor 
it was erected on was of clay hardened like 
cement, and was clean swept A lucky hit off 
of the right passage brings us to the door just 
behind Captain Baker; Lord William Bieres- 
ford was running towards the door from an- 
other direction, and though first in the kraal, 
he was not foremost at the palace, if one may 
stretch a point and dignify it by that name. 
It was a low single-storied house built of mud- 
bricks, or mud and wattle. It contained eight 
rooms, and had a steep thatched roof, that the 
rockets had touched but not burnt. A vigorous 
kick by Captain Baker to the rude unpainted 
door and we are inside, and see — ^well not 
Ketchwayo, who we dreamed might possibly 
have been there. The whole floor was covered 



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with dead men, not flesh and blood though, 
but only Champagne and square face (Geneva 
or Hollands) bottles lying about in confusion. 
Two springs and we seize one, alack! alack! 
it is empty, another and yet another tell the 
same tale, and we see that the El Dorado that 
had opened for us has vanished ; but what a 
royal booze poor Ketchwayo must have had 
with all this. We afterwards found out that 
he had had a tremendous carouse the night 
before with his chiefs and leaders, indeed, tra- 
dition says the royal toper, albeit a good and 
seasoned bibber, got "vara fou" that night; 
poor fellow, a lost battle, a lost kingdom and 
a hurried flight were not the best of pick-me- 
ups the next morning. However, there they 
were, but, as I live, one with the cork un- 
touched and the gold seal intact, Heidseck's 
Dry too, just right, alas ! through a small 
crack its contents have long since vanished. 
Put it down, plenty of others will be sold the 
same way as yourself 

On first entering Captain Baker stumbled 
over two bits of wooden-like substance and 
kicked them out of his way; Lord William 



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Beresford picks them up, and we see they are 
two elephants' tusks, only one other is taken, 
and that a small one, which Captain Baker 
keeps. A large box or locker stands in a cor- 
ner, a kick opens it ; one does not stand on 
ceremony when looting. It is found full of 
old newspapers. Illustrated London News^ 
Times, Standard, Graphic, and many Colonial 
papers, Dutch and English, these latter all 
containing references to the Zulus and Ketch- 
wayo; some were five years old, and they 
contained all the doings of the Boundary 
Commission, the Ghaika and Galeka War, 
Secocoeni's war, the annexation of the Trans- 
vaal, comments on the Zulu Army and war- 
like intentions of Ketchwayo, everything 
tending to give him an idea of how frightened 
the Colonists were of him. Then there was 
an illustration of his coronation by Shepstone. 
Ketchwayo was certainly not as ignorant of 
the white man's intentions as is supposed, here 
was a Colonial version, with comments for 
years on all his actions ; they were much worn 
and thumbed over. The English papera, 
especially the illustrated ones, were very old. 



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one of the oldest being an Illustrated London 
News with all the pictures of the marriage of 
the Prince of Wales. How strange it seemed 
to look on the features of the best loved face 
in England in the midst of barbarism, and 
after looking on the scenes we had witnessed 
one short hour before. Her Majesty opening 
Parliament, scenes in the Eusso-Turkish War, 
the Franco-Prussian War, some few pictures 
of the old Colony War. One of these must 
have roused his phlegm considerably, it was 
"KaflSr Prisoners entering King Williams- 
town," and represented some miserable-looking 
Kaffirs escorted, with hands bound behind 
their backs, by mounted volunteers. Many 
others were found, too numerous to mention. 

Leaving the house, we found a troop start- 
ing oflf to bum a kraal still further on, the 
writer was ordered by Colonel Buller to com- 
mence to burn the royal kraal, which he did 
with Captain Prior of the 80th (now Major) 
and Captain Parminter. By these three the 
10,000 huts which made up Ulundi were 
burnt, no one else assisting or being near. The 
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and burnt well. The burners rode from hut to 
hut with flaming torches of grass, and after 
hard work got everything in flames. The huts 
were small and bad, save those round the 
King's house for his chief wives, the others 
were decidedly the worst huts we had seen in 
Zululand. At the bottom comer there was a 
splendid pile of skins ready to make into 
shields. 

After the burning is over we have some time 
to rest, and go about looking for loot, a freshly 
turned up piece of soil attracts us, and sticking 
the assegai we happen to have into the groimd 
it rings on iron, further investigation reveals a 
large slab of iron, evidently the lid of a safe ; 
at last all is right, and our fortunes are made, 
we think ; that fortune so oft delayed, so long 
sought for. At last we find out our safe turns 
out to be a large American cooking stove, 
planted in the ground about a foot deep. Still 
we think it must contain valuables, and pulling 
the boiler lid off" discover — ^what ? well, about 
the last thing we expected to see, a set of 
blacking-brushes. Cruel irony, that condemned 
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so ridiculous an ending. Whatever could a 
Zulu do with blacking-brushes, he could not 
brush his boots for the sufl&cient reason that 
he had none to black. His own skin was black 
enough, and sleek and shiny not to require 
polishing, so what could we do with them ? 
It's a conundrum we have often puzzled over ; 
we have the brushes yet. After this we sit 
down, and in sight of the still blazing huts 
share the last bottle of champagne left us in 
the world. For four long months have we 
cherished that bottle to keep to celebrate the 
event we are now witnessing ; through many 
dangers it had passed safely, and delicious was 
it now. We then write a hurried note or two 
to be sent off to friends in England, to be 
posted by the post that we know will leave 
camp to-night, letters, by the bye, that they 
never got. 

It would little boot to tell of the other ad- 
ventures that befel us, sufl&ce to say that we 
got back to the square ; had a scrambling sort 
of a lunch, and were then sent off to cover a 
party of Shepstone's Basutos, who were dis- 
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went, we rode over a diflferent part of the field 
by the Kanodwengo kraal, and saw some bodies 
of mules and horses that lay dead, killed by 
our shells, their riders evidently were laying 
behind the kraal in wait to pounce on the 
stragglers when the square was shattered by 
their men's fierce attack We forgot to say 
that after the pursuit, and before we went to 
the kraal, we covered some guns that were 
sent to dislodge the Zulus, who were in the 
mountain where we had driven them, the shells 
just pitched well into them as they sat looking 
at us, making them again fly. Some Basutos 
we saw here, said that many of the people 
killed by these shells were women, who had 
been looking at the fight from the hills. At 
five we got back to camp thoroughly done up, 
having had a hard day. 

It would interest no one to know how we 
left the banks of the Umvelosi Eiver the next 
day, though the burial of Captain Wyatt 
Edgehill's body on the night of the battle down 
by the river-side was an impressive sight, 
buried as he was by his sorrowing comrades in 
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We arrived at Magnumbonum heights on the 
6th of July, Newdigate's Column having ar- 
rived on the 5th. The change of temperature 
was great from the warm vale to the bleak 
hills, it made us very glad to get once more 
under canvas. We were also rejoiced to see a 
" smouch waggon," and cheerfully paid enor- 
mous prices for such luxuries as sardines, jam, 
preserved salmon, &c. 

Our comrades, left behind on the hill, had 
watched the battle anxiously on the 4th. The 
rain delayed us at Magnumbonum three days, 
such rain, cold as ice, and that killed oflF our 
poor draught bullocks and horses literally by 
the dozen; all round the camp w^ere they 
lying. On the 10th we left the camp, and had 
tremendous work to collect and accoimt for all 
our horses, the fog and rain had driven some 
miles away ; they had broken loose from the 
picket-lines and got lost in the fog. One raid 
had been made on the 7th by Colonel BuUer, 
he started with a couple of troops at three a.m., 
and riding a whole day in the fearful rain re- 
turned to camp with a fine herd of captured 
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ground close to us, and though the rank grass 
was saturated with rain burned a piece clean 
off. A ration of rum was served out on the 
8th inst. to all hands, in honour of the victory. 
On the 11th we turned off the old road by 
which we advanced and reached a beautiful 
mission station, Quamagasa, formerly the resi- 
dence of Bishop Eobertson. It was a lovely 
spot, closely planted with trees, off which we 
got a quantity of lemons, the gardens also were 
full of Cape gooseberries, but were soon deso- 
late. Here was found the body of Lieutenant 
Scott Douglas, the signalling officer, with the 
body of Corporal Cotter of the l7th Lancers, 
who escorted him. They had been missing 
some days, having ridden from Magnumbonum 
to the next fort, and returning in the fog it is 
conjectured they lost their way, and falling in 
with Dabulamanzi's people were killed. The 
Corporal had evidently fought hard, as traces 
of a terrible struggle were seen all round ; 
they had been surprised while resting under a 
tree. In the evening they were buried. Neither 
of the bodies were mutilated in any way. 
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at St. Paul's Mission Station on the 15th, 
where Sir Garnet Wolseley joined us. The 
next day the flying column was reviewed. We 
had parted from Newdigate's some days pre- 
viously. As our orders were to turn out as 
strong as possible, the blind, the maim, and the 
halt among the horses were brought out for 
the march past. All day long on the 16th the 
natives were bringing in guns, all Enfields, 
but no Martinis. 

On the 18th there was a parade, a speech 
from Colonel Buller and General Wood to say 
good-bye. The latter was loudly cheered, but 
the Colonel came in for such an ovation as he 
will probably never forget, and which moved 
him enough to make his voice tremble as he 
wished all good-bye. Long after he went did 
we follow his figure as it went up the hill from 
us. After his departure the interest in every- 
thing was over, as he was the life and soul of 
the column. Many an Irregular read with 
honest pride the enthusiastic welcome that 
England gave to Sir Evelyn Wood and Colonel 
Buller, our leader and beloved chief. Not a 
few but owed their lives to the latter, and right 

14 



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glad we were to see that lie got the C.M.G. 
and was made A.D.C. to the Queen, honours 
well deserved by him surely. Sir Evelyn also 
had still further proved his undoubted ability 
and made his name. The Frontier Light Horse, 
our gallant comrades, also went on the 18th 
from the column. We ourselves left tte day 
after, and in a few days the flying column was 
no more. The 13th Light Infantry left on 
their way to England, the 90th Light Infantry 
left for India, the 80th were to remain in the 
country. For ourselves we were to march 
down to Durban and there disband. So we 
were to be scattered to the four comers of the 
earth, and that division in which from highest 
to lowest a spirit of cordial admiration, obedi- 
ence and loyal co-operation had reigned, was to 
be broken up. 

Our orders were to march ma Ekowe and 
Fort Tenedos. As soon as we left St. Paul's 
we descended into a thickly wooded, luxuriant 
tropical country, full of game of all sorts, and 
reported to contain buffalo. The ground was 
deep and heavy, and the country impassable 
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were full of natives, who seemed cheerful and 
good-natured, ready to sell fowls and doubtless 
wondering why [we took the trouble to pay 
for them. Many had terrible scars which 
they were fond of showing. That evening we 
camped by the Umletosi Kiver, and had a good 
bathe spite of the crocodiles it was supposed 
to be full of. We also caught some fish, like 
barbel. On the 21st we reached the Umlalas 
River, after a tiring march during which we 
lost ten oxen. There was a fort at Umlalas 
garrisoned by a fever-stricken detachment of 
the 88th Connaught Rangers. Poor feUows, 
we had seen them at Durban, but very diflFerent 
they looked then to what they did now after 
months of inaction, camped in pestilent marshes. 
The fact is the authorities had accumulated so 
many tons of stores there, someone must eat 
them, so despite fever the 88th stayed there, 
and did their best, with but little appetites for 
the task before them. Someone had blundered, 
and the poor 88th had to pay and eat for it. 

The next day we saw Ekowe, with its large 
and strong earthworks. No Zulus could have 
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formerly a mission station. Around it lay the 
graves of those who had died during Pearson's 
occupation of it. 

The next day we passed down from the 
hills again, passing many waggons abandoned 
by Pearson on the 23rd of January after his 
fight at Ineyzane. The battlefield of Ineyzane 
we also rode over and inspected, it was like a 
very thickly wooded park, with reeds instead 
of grass. The fight must have been a scramble 
in the dark for everyone, both Zulus and Eng- 
lish, and the only wonder is that a disaster 
similar to Isandula did not take place. The 
train of waggons was of immense length, im- 
perfectly guarded, and if the Zulus had attacked 
the waggons instead of the advance guard, we 
do not see what was to avert a catastrophe. 
We saw the graves of those who fell, under a 
spreading tree by the roadside, just where the 
slope begins. We caught some capital fish in 
the Ineyzane brook, a sluggish river, we ate 
them undisturbed by the thought that they 
may in their turn have feasted on the Zulus 
who fell there at the fight. 

For some days we had some capital sport 



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shooting partridges, deer, &c., and on the 22nd 
of July reached Fort Tenedos. The fort at the 
Zulu side of the river was Fort Tenedos, the 
one at the Natal side was Fort Pearson, both 
were very strong. Too strong to be taken by 
Zulus. A small town had sprung up around 
the fort, inhabited by innkeepers, storekeepers, 
bakers, &c. We were soon deep in the delights 
of civilized luxuries, they were rather dearer 
than at home it is true, yet how much better 
beer tasted there than at home ; heat and long 
fasting probably did it, at all events I know 
that our first draught went down as beer never 
went before, or will hardly do again, till some 
future war calls us out again to once more 
work for it. We passed quickely through the 
sugar-growing and beautiful sea-coast of Natal 
and arrived at Sacchrine Railway Station on 
the 31st of July. 

On the 2nd the Eegiment was run down past 
Durban and put on board the * City of Venice * 
to be disbanded, some were to be put ashore at 
Port Elizabeth, some at Capetown. We bid 
good-bye with unfeigned regret to our comrades 
in arms, who though rough and rude were 



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good men and true at heart. For months 
previously officers and men had pulled together 
well and willingly. All were sorry to part, 
and often was the Commandant preferred 
service if he would raise a corps to fight Seco- 
coeni. All partings come to an end, and at 
last we leave with Captain Baker and turn our 
faces again to Natal, followed by the ringing 
cheers of our late troopers. Here endeth that 
corps yclept Baker's Horse, who after many 
months of gallant service were once more dis- 
persed to the winds, where are they now, we 
wonder? like the old stave I should think, 
"Some are dead and more are gone, and 
others beyond the seas got scraped to death 
with oyster shells, among the Carribees." 

It is hard lines that after Captain Baker's 
long and gallant service, he should have got 
simply nothing out of it. The winding up of 
Jiis corps financially too was done better than 
^ny other Irregular corps. At least he might, 
in the lavish distribution of honours that took 
place, have got a C.M.G., or better still that 
honorary lieutenant -colonelcy he coveted. 
Certainly not a man in South Africa deserved 



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some recognition of arduous service more than 
he did, and we hope that those merits will yet 
be recognised by the War OflBce. His were the 
first reinforcements to reach Lord Chelmsford 
after Isandula when the colony stood in most 
need of them. That ofl&cer, however, did not 
even take the trouble to thank Commandant 
Baker, though the corps were raised with in- 
credible celerity by dint of Captain Baker's 
personal popularity in Port Elizabeth. We are 
afraid your readers will be out of patience with 
our growl, but it is riling to see merit passed 
over, and mediocrity rewarded. 

So ends the Chronicles of the Irregular Horse, 
the other corps were quickly broken up, save 
the Frontier Light Horse who went up against 
Secocoeni, and were disbanded on the 26th of 
of January, 1880, after a long and honourable 
career. Captain Walley's corps was broken up 
in August, 1879. Commandant Eaafe's in 
August also, the last named ofl&cer received a 
C.M.G. The Irregulars were a force, taken 
altogether, which did the work intrusted to 
them weU, though roughly, and it is a pity 
they were not made into a permanent force. 



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However those in authority know best, and 
now for Northward Ho I and Home. 



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CHAPTEK XIIL 

THE BOER OUTBREAK 

npHE following may now be of interest to 
-*- English readers. It is a short sketch of 
the revolt in the Transvaal, or rather some short 
observations on it. It is the work of one 
particularly well qualified, from a residence 
of several years to speak on the subject. 
These years, or rather the latter portion of 
them, were spent on active service in and near 
the Transvaal. The earlier portion was spent 
in the Cape Colony, in various districts in- 
habited by Dutch settlers, and in service 
there. 

In the first place let us state the case of the 
the Boers, which is simple. They allege that 
the British Government forcibly took posses- 



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sion of their country : that they used every 
means in their power to get redress, and that 
after waiting patiently three years, finding 
other means unavailing they had been obliged 
to resort to armed resistance. This is their 
whole case, which appears to have excited the 
sympathy of a large section of the English 
public. The contention on the other side is, 
that the Transvaal was a country in a. state of 
anarchy and bankruptcy, without any means 
of maintaining its frontier against the attacks 
of savages, who unopposed were taking posses- 
sion of the territory of the Republic, and who 
threatened to become dangerous to the British 
colonists. Therefore Shepstone went to Pre- 
toria, and declared the South African Republic 
no longer independent but annexed to Great 
Britain. There was but little force displayed 
on this occasion. Sir T. Shepstone's force was 
but 28 men, they could have been destroyed 
and made prisoners in a few minutes. Such 
is the case on which the Boers have at last 
joined issue with the Imperial Government. 
We think careful consideration of facts will 
eliminate any sjnnpathy for the ill-advised 



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Dutchmen. Here we wish to record an opinion 
that 4-5ths of the population of the Transvaal 
were well disposed to British rule. At least 
such is the results of our observations and 
an interchange of ideas with the most res- 
pectable portions of the Dutch community. 
Many of the Boers in the Transvaal have im- 
migrated there from the Cape Colony, and not 
a few sincQ the annexation. We had a good 
opportunity of knowing many Dutch farmers 
in the old Colony and their reasons for moving. 
Some were not doing well owing to unfavour- 
able conditions of soil and climate ; losses of 
stock through disease and draught and other 
causes independent of forms of Government, 
others were lazy and gocd-for-no thing-rascals 
who would prosper nowhere. Again there 
were boers who had not sufficient elbow room, 
for it is the great ambition of these to be able 
to stand on some elevated spot near their 
houses, and point out the extent of their 
domains. We who wish to make the farms 
smaller are consequently disliked, and it is 
rather like the squatter and free selector 
question in Australia. An adverse judicial 



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decision would set such to brood over their 
wrongs. They would accept an offer for land 
and stock and forthwith " inspan " their wag- 
gons, and " trek " off to join Burgers as they 
expressed it. The main cause of complaint 
was the degree of freedom enjoyed by the 
natives. For many years after the Cape was 
ceded by the Batavian General Janusens, 
slavery was recognised by the British Govern- 
ment. According to all accounts the Hotten- 
tot and other native bondsmen had a very 
miserable time. There are extant painful 
records of flogging, tortures, and destruction 
of life. The bushmen who resolutely refused 
to enter a life of slavery were shot do'^^ by 
the Dutch as we shoot vermin. The Roman 
Dutch law certainly did not sanction these 
barbarities. Few, however, of their perpetra- 
tors were ever brought to trial, and if they 
were, justice was satisfied by the imposition of 
a small fine. At the present time the Boer 
says that a native can commit any crime with 
impunity. They say under British rule the 
magistrate always favours the black man. 
There is some truth in this statement. The 



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heaviest sentence we ever saw passed on a 
native for sheepstealing was six months' im- 
prisonment. When we consider that the great 
business of stock raising is carried on in a 
country destitute of fences, and with little or 
no police surveillance, it is an inadequate 
punishment. We believe that this unrestrained 
vagabondage of the natives and their almost 
entire immunity from punishment is the chief 
cause of discontent in the Boer mind. In the 
Orange Free State, and also in the Crown 
Colony of Natal, the natives are kept within 
bounds by very salutary regulations. They 
are not allowed to be out after a certain hour 
in the evening, and, moreover, the sale of in- 
toxicating liquors, to them, is forbidden. 
Beyond this native question, we know of no 
other genuine grievance of the Boers to our 
rule. We have said that we consider 4-5ths 
of the Dutch population favourable to British 
rule in the Transvaal. This opinion Colonel 
Lanyon, our ablest African administrator, has 
also expressed in his dispatches. 

The opponents of our annexation are a 
certain class of political agitators, with little 



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or nothing to lose ; not all of them Dutch by 
any means. Indeed we are convinced that a 
good number of Englishmen of broken fortunes 
with no ostensible means of support, attracted 
originally to South Africa by the Diamond 
Fields, where they have spent their time hang- 
ing about canteens and hotel bars, will be 
found to have taken part in stirring up the 
present commotion. On these Diamond Fields 
were at one time a certain number of Irishmen 
of advanced views who openly proclaimed 
their hostility to the British government. The 
tactics of the Boers are indeed very much the 
same as those followed by the Irish agitator^ 
during the last three or four months, and if we 
do not mistake we shall hear soon from the 
Transvaal of the same coercion terrorism and 
violence that are now reported daily in 
Ireland. From this class of needy agitators it 
is but just to except men like Paul Kruger 
and Joubert, fanatics of the Calvinist school, 
who, we are firmly convinced, are acting sin- 
' cerely up to their convictions. 

However this may be, war has broken out 
and British authority set at defiance. The 



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first step of course is to quench the rebellion 
as soon as possible. That the Boers can make 
any protracted stand against regular troops is 
impossible, and we doubt very much whether 
they will make the attempt. Behind intrench- 
ments, if they have the art to make them, they 
will fight, as also in the natural positions so 
plentiful in the spurs of the Drakensburg 
mountains. No resistance that these men could 
make will prevent the passage of a column of 
troops sufficiently strong and ably led from 
Natal into the Transvaal either by the Cold- 
stream and Mark's store route which is the 
most difficult or by the Newcastle and Utrecht 
road across the Buffalo, which passes through 
an open country where artillery can have full 
play. That they may make much trouble by 
attacks on convoys is evident and also by 
cutting telegraph wires and interrupting com- 
munications generally. Furthermore by set- 
ting their backs to the Vaal river and by 
alternately advancing and retiring to their 
Mends in the Free State the war may be 
protracted indefinitely, unless Mr. Brand's 
government be compelled by threats of retribu- 



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tion to make its subjects observe neutrality. 
The Boer as a rule is not a courageous man. 
and will not fight unless driven into a comer 
whence there is no escape. As they are all 
mounted and good horsemen this last operation 
is impossible, and none of our regular cavalry 
could ever hope to gain anything by a pursuit : 
When hard pressed by want of supplies they 
will return to their houses (where by the way 
they have left their families) and have a 
period of rest, telling any of the British patrols 
visiting them that they have taken no part in 
hostilities or that they were forced from home 
against their will. It is to be a matter of 
some difficulty to deal with people adopting 
these tactics which were to my knowledge 
followed most successfully by the insurgent 
natives near the mission stations in British 
Kaflfraria. That the rebellion must be suppres- 
sed with a high hand effectually is a matter 
admitting of no question, if we wish to main- 
tain our supremacy in South Africa. The 
native races have seen the Imperial troops 
victorious in all conflicts with themselves and 
know that when the red coats appear on the 



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scene their thorough subjugation is only a 
matter of time. We are quite convinced that 
the presence of a few hundred troops in Basuto 
land would eflfect more in a week than all Mr. 
Sprigg's motley crowds of colonists and irregu- 
lars have accomplished (if they have accom- 
plished anything) in six months. For the 
benefit of the Zulus and other powerful tribes 
it must therefore be shown clearly that white 
antagonists to British supremacy will also be 
speedily brought to their senses. 

The rebellion suppresed, the next question 
that arises is the future of the Transvaal. 
First and foremost, however, comes the duty of 
dealing out stern retribution to those concerned 
in the murder of British subjects or of people 
in the pay of the Imperial Government. Mr. 
Kjniger's administrators will certainly disavow 
any connection with these murderers who have 
probably ere this taken refuge in the Free 
State, which should be compelled to give them 
up for punishment by court martial. Public 
opinion in England seems to demand that the 
question of annexation shall be reconsidered — 
with a view to determine whether the Trans- 

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vaal should not be re-transferred to the Re- 
pubhc. If it be so determined, the Boers 
should be made to pay either in money or in 
territory their quota of the expenses of the 
Zulu War, and the whole of those incurred in 
the operations against Secoeoeni ; and, further- 
more, a force should be retained in the country, 
and at its expense, until this indenmity be paid, 
and the security of the hves and property of 
those adhering to the British rule in the present 
struggle guaranteed for the future. These 
terms are demanded by common justice. The 
wars of 1878-80 were nothing but a source of 
emolument to the Boers for whose pro- 
tection they were undertaken. With the ex- 
ception of a few frontier farmers who joined 
General Wood, after having been obliged to 
abandon their houses, the assistance rendered 
by the other Boers was limited by supplying 
transport at most exorbitant charges. They 
made also demands for imaginary damages 
commited by Imperial forces passing near their 
deserted farms, and were not backward in 
clamouring for compensation on account of lost 
or dead oxen that had never left the claimants' 



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fanns. The Colonists of English descent, it 
must be admitted, were also equally conspicu- 
ous in rendering this sort of assistance to the 
Government in its need. We observe that 
£250,000 will be paid by Natal towards the 
expenses of the Zulu War, and at least half 
this sum should be demanded from the Trans- 
vaal if it be restored to the Eepublican Govern- 
ment. It was, moreover, currently asserted 
that the Boers were in conmiunication with 
Cetjrwayo before the outbreak of, if not during 
the war. Whether this be true or not, it seems 
established that they have instigated the 
Basutos and other natives to rise against the 
Cape. When we remember that Cetjrwayo 
asked Mr. Shepstone to let him have "just one 
little war," and "wash his assegais" in the 
Transvaal, then ruled by Mr. Burgers, and 
that he was persuaded by that official to relin- 
quish his designs on the Boers, it will readily 
be understood that these Eepublicans have 
alienated the good-will and sjnnpathy of all 
honest men and well-wishers to South African 
progress. 

We have mentioned once or twice that the 



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majority of the Dutch residents are well dis- 
posed towards British rule, and we would sug- 
gest that it be ascertained, when the war is 
over, whether this disposition cannot be proved 
to the satisfaction of those ill-informed people 
in England and elsewhere that are cr3dng out 
at the top of their voices for justice to the 
Dutch. We do not know of any country 
where the subject enjoys the same degree of 
liberty as in the Transvaal under British rule. 
The law as expounded by Dutch jurisconsuls, 
is identical with that observed by Riebeck and 
his settlers in 1667, is administered by Dutch 
judges and magistrates, almost all of whom 
held office under the Republic. 

The taxation, mostly indirect, is just suffi- 
cient to maintain these officials, and is far less 
grievous than that imposed by the Republican 
Government. It must be said, however, that 
this latter executive did not recover payment 
from those who thought proper not to contri- 
bute their share of the public revenue ; a happy- 
go-lucky system which brought the country to 
ruin. Moreover, under the British rule the 
Boers' life and property were secure from 



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attacks, a somewhat novel experience to those 
living on the eastern and northern borders, 
which they have not been backward in appreci- 
ating. 

We should think it would be easy to deter- 
mine the opinion of the majority by a species 
of plebiscite, or census carried out by enumera- 
tors of strict impartiality, and bound over to 
secrecy. Let the question be put to every 
Dutchman holding property of any descrip- 
tion, " Do you wish for British rule or for the 
Kepublic ? " Let every man give his vote on 
these questions according to his conscience? 
being previovsly assured that his decision will 
never be divulged even to his wife and chil- 
dren, and we are very much astonished if the 
results of this balloting would not for ever and 
a day close the mouths of noisy agitators and 
so-called politicians never weary crying down 
their own country, and criticising those who 
carry out their duties firmly and faithfully. 
There are at present in the north of the Trans- 
vaal whole districts once occupied by farmers 
and their stocks that are now abandoned to the 
encroaching natives. The disappearance of the 



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British flag from the Transvaal will be the 
signal for the adjacent native races to overrun 
the whole Kepublic and satisfy long-standing 
grudges. The Boers have shown their inability 
to meet these invasions, and a complete want 
of unanimity and patriotic spirit. Fighting 
the British Government and the native tribes 
are two very different things as they know. 
That they incur little risk in conflict with a 
civilised nation, which will simply content 
itself with dispersing armed resistance without 
interfering with private property, is shown by 
the large numbers of men they have, with the 
•assistance of the Free State, put into the field. 
A war with a native tribe means loss of life 
and property, everything being destroyed 
-except the women who would probably be 
left to starve, possibly worse. Whether we are 
justified in abandoning the country to this fate 
even at the request of its inhabitants is 
a knotty point which will cause much 
anxious consideration to philanthropists and 
statesmen. The Colonial oflS.ce possessing as 
it does such unrivalled sources of information, 
and advised by men like Sir Owen Lanyon, 



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can be safely depended on to settle the matter 
in a way alike honourable to the nation and 
in a manner satisfactory to the misguided 
Boers. The experience of the oflB.ce in our 
vast colonial aflfairs will enable them to devise 
the best means to that end. Let us hope 
Lord Kimberley's eflForts will be crowned with 
success. 

In considering the Boer question, it should 
be considered that their position is diflferent 
to any other nation in the world. With them 
there are no separate classes. All occupy the 
same position, that of owners of land, and 
are aU equal. The stores are all in the hands, 
of Europeans. From their childhood, their 
wandering instincts are fostered by the very 
manner of their life. Once a year or so, they 
go oflF with their parents, and are absent from 
home, leading a vagabond's existence * on trek^' 
for two or three months. This causes them to 
be unsettled and fond of change, and the same 
spirit moves them in their relations to the 
Government. With railways and increased 
civilization, this feeling will disappear and 
they will become attached to our rule. 



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As for the agitation now being got up for 
the Boers by the Hollanders, it is absurd. No 
doubt blood is thicker than water, but a carry- 
ing back of the Hollanders' sympathy to a 
people who left Holland some two hundred 
years ago, is as if in the event of a war between 
the United States and some power we agitated 
in favour of the States. Doubtless we should 
wish them well, but should stop short at that 
— carry the principle further, and we may 
expect to see Greece agitating against Italy's 
suppression of the Sicilian brigands, because 
Sicily was a Grecian Colony. 

As to the carrying on of the war, it is 
simply a question of a chain of posts and 
cavalry raids under some experienced leader 
like Colonel Buller. These raids will serve to 
show the Boers how completely their homes 
are in our power, and will speedily bring them 
to their senses. Regular cavalry as now armed 
are of small use against the Boers. Firstly, 
Boers' horses are the best ; secondly, Cavalry 
carbines carry 600 yards, Boers' rifles 1200, 
result — ^the Boers can keep 800 yards away 
and can simply pour in shot after shot without 



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reply. Their extreme mobility will always 
keep them out of range of cavalry. On being 
charged they will disperse and fly. Their 
knowledge of the country will always enable 
them to avoid being trapped. Unless we have 
experienced officers and trustworthy guides 
the same rule will not apply to us. Kegular 
cavalry horses cannot stand an arduous cam- 
paign with the weight they now carry. Ir- 
regulars who fight the Boers with their own 
weapons and tactics are the true remedy. 
Man for man they are the Boers' equals, and 
the good English pluck they have to boot, will 
carry them through victorious. 

The mere threat of calling in Zulus and 
Swazies would oblige the Boers to submit at 
once. 

We question if it would be advisable to 
give up the Transvaal. In 1854 being in 
want of men for the Crimean campaign, we 
withdrew the 500 men who garrisoned the 
now Orange Free State, and gave it up to the 
Boers. Now the Transvaal Boers use it as a 
rallying point in their operations against us. 

To us, Africa should become a second India, 



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and should be British from Table Bay to Cape 
Guardafui. Such it will be, spite of all the 
clamour from a section at home. The same 
cry that ruined Clive and Warren Hastings, • 
mined Sir Bartle Frere. History will do 
equal justice to his career in the future, as it 
has done to Clive and Hastings. To a bar- 
barism a thousand fold greater than that of 
India, we are the pioneers of Christianity and 
civilization. Should we pause in our glorious 
career ? 



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